Snapchat copies two of Instagram’s features, adds World Lenses

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It’s Snapchat’s turn to copy Instagram.

On Tuesday Snapchat updated its Stories product — the one Instagram copied in August — with the ability to *finally* rewind through Stories, which has been possible on Instagram but not on Snapchat. If that seems like a minor adjustment, then you haven’t come close to throwing your phone at the wall after getting through 10 snaps in a 25-snap Story only to swipe too quickly past a snap you wanted a longer look at.

If you’re looking for something more, on Tuesday Snapchat also added lenses meant to augment the reality around you and the ability to share snaps from people’s public Stories with their friends, which is a kind-of copy of Instagram Direct.

Snapchat’s “World Lenses” are similar to the selfie-filtering lenses that Snapchat introduced last year but made to be applied, not to your face, but to what’s in front of your face. For what it’s worth, the original lenses could also be applied to the world around you, but they weren’t made for that. The new World Lenses are, making it possible to add a snowfall effect your surroundings, augment reality with rainbow-vomiting clouds or point a virtual flashlight. Unlike the original lenses — which can still be used when recording using your phone’s front- or rear-facing camera — World Lenses are only available when using the front-facing camera.

Finally Snapchat is making snaps in other people’s Stories shareable, but only as private messages to your friends. That is to say, Snapchat isn’t (yet) adding its version of Twitter’s retweet button. Instead it’s more like a copy of Instagram, which doesn’t let people repost other people’s photos and videos but does let them share those posts in private messages with their friends.


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