They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there sure is plenty of it to go around in the tech sphere. Having borrowed heavily from Instagram's Stories for its Previews section, Netflix is now turning its attention to TikTok for a new type of preview stream it's calling 'Fast Laughs.'
After successfully cloning Snapchat's Stories, Instagram is pushing hard to break into the next market. Not too long ago, it introduced its TikTok copy Reels, which is currently rolling out to users worldwide. To put the new format front and center, Instagram has formally announced that it will now get a fixed place in the bottom bar along with a new Shop section.
Everyone wants to disappear sometimes — or at the very least, make some embarrassing comment of theirs disappear. Facebook is making that a bit easier by borrowing a feature from Snapchat that makes it possible to send messages that don't stick around. The new "vanish mode" for Messenger and Instagram promises to make messaging a more "spontaneous" experience, and it's starting to roll out now.
YouTube Music is one of many Google apps that use their own share sheet on Android. Instead of adopting the default one, they have a custom design (Photos, News, Maps, YouTube, Twitter) and can include whatever targets they want. That's why you can see your contacts in Photos, for example. But YouTube Music is taking this privilege a little far now by adding icons for Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories among your apps.
Android has supported app shortcuts since 2016, but some popular apps still haven't implemented the feature yet. We found evidence that Instagram was about to change that in October 2019, though it took the company until now to finally roll out shortcuts widely. Most people should now be able to tap and hold the Instagram icon on their home screen to quickly access the camera, create a new post, view their activity, and open direct messages. Additionally, Instagram has quietly reworked the Stories archive, which is now organized in three sections.
Facebook has been working on unifying Instagram's messaging system with its own Facebook Messenger app since earlier this summer, and now the company is announcing a refreshed look for Messenger complete with new chat themes, custom reactions, and a more colorful logo.
Facebook has quietly revived Instagram Lite, a boiled-down, visually-identical version of the social media app. The company pushed its first update to the publicly-listed APK in 11 months after having officially shuttered the service in May, purportedly for a revamp.
TikTok facing bans in two of its most prominent markets is only putting pressure on competitors to step up and fill that gap. Instagram jumped at the chance and quickly expanded its own TikTok clone, Reels, to international markets. The feature currently lives inside the Explore tab, but the photo-sharing app doesn't want things to stop there. Instagram is now trying to push users towards Reels even more by giving it a prominent position on the home screen.
Early last year, Facebook promised that it would create a unified backend for all of its messaging platforms. Messenger, Instagram direct messages, and WhatsApp are all supposed to be interoperable, so you wouldn't have to worry about which Facebook app to use with which of your contacts. It looks like the company is getting ready to make these cross-platform chats a reality, as it has started distributing a popup on Instagram that advertises a Messenger integration.