Instagram’s head of product Kevin Weil came to Disrupt in New York to introduce selfie filters for Instagram Stories — read more about the new feature here. You can now choose between eight filters to add koala nose and ears to your face and more. This was clearly inspired by Snapchat, and Weil is aware of that.
“There’s a level of craft and attention to details to the eight face filters that is unique,” he said. None of the filters is an exact copy of Snapchat’s filters, but the bigger trend is that Instagram Stories still look very similar to Snapchat Stories. You can add stickers, draw on top of your videos and photos, add filters and more. Instagram is also launching a few new creative tools today, such as a reverse video format and an eraser.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine asked multiple questions about the relationship between Snapchat’s features and Instagram’s product roadmap. You can read his deep dive here: Instagram on copying Snapchat “This is the way the tech industry works”
“Good ideas start in one place and they spread throughout the entire industry,” Weil said. “It’s a format and it’s going to be adopted widely across multiple platforms.”
Weil was SVP of Product at Twitter before joining Instagram and reminded everyone that Twitter popularized the hashtag. Similarly, he said that Pixar came up with the first computer-animated movie and now most animation studios have switched to 3D animation.
The second argument is that stories are just one part of Instagram’s product. People use Instagram because of the combination of all these different features.
“It’s not just about the format, it’s about the plot, the story line the entire product,” Weil said. “For us, Instagram is not just Instagram Stories, it’s also the feed, it’s Direct and it’s Instagram Live.”
Snap had a rough week last week with disappointing earnings and shares dropping roughly 25 percent. Weil didn’t want to say anything bad about Snap and thinks it’s not a zero-sum game.
“We’re still focused on what we do. We clearly are building something people care about. It’s a big industry and there are going to be multiple successful players,” Weil said. “Are you closer to the people in your life because you use Instagram? If so, we’re fulfilling our mission.”
Finally, Josh shared a screenshot of what looks like Location Stories for Instagram. He got the opportunity to play with it and look at a Times Square story here in New York. It looks like the feature is not quite ready for prime time, but Instagram is clearly working on it already.