Launched nearly six months ago, Instagram Stories has already surpassed Snapchat in the number of total daily active users. The photo-sharing platform started with cloning most of the functionality from the ephemeral messaging app and is today completing a long-running process with the addition of augmented reality face filters to the Stories feature. This update also brings along a host of nifty feature updates and improvements.

Starting today, you’ll be able to swipe right from the main feed of the Instagram app to access the small ‘smiley’ button that’s been added to the bottom right to allow access the different face filters. The photo sharing platform is kicking off its face masks journey with a handful, eight to be precise, of Snapchat-like filters. While we may believe the face masks have been lifted from Spiegel’s ephemeral messaging app, the company’s product head Kevin Weil seems to differ with this opinion. He tells TechCrunch,

The designs and specific filters were built by the Instagram team. The underlying technology uses MSQRD’s imaging technology and proprietary technology from Facebook’s applied machine learning teams. You’ll see as you use them, there’s a level of craft and detail with each one of the eight face filters that I think is unique.

Now, you’ve been given the option to be more playful in a conversation with the use of any of the face filters. They enable the users to display koala ears or mathematic equations swirling above their heads. Instagram has not only cloned singular face masks but is also adding filters that work with friends –similar to face swap or flower band masks in Snapchat. There’s another significance for these filters in the Instagram app as they work not only with normal image/video capturing but also with Boomerang.

Rewind

In addition to the existing camera tools available by swiping the camera button, Instagram is now handing over another fun and creative ‘Rewind’ camera tool to its users. We had already been getting creative with the Boomerang and Hands-free tools and it seems they’re now being topped off by this new tool. It will enable you to see things fly back in time when you have completed the process to capture that instant — with the touch of a button. Go, defy some laws of physics!

Hashtags

Instagram is well-known for hashtags added all the pictures/video we post to the platform on the daily. They make similar content discoverable, something which the photo-sharing app has been able to do right — even with Stories or Live. It is now including the same functionality in Stories, which will allow you to include a hashtag sticker that can be customized and interacted with. The blog post writes about the same,

As with mentions, you can also add hashtags using regular text. People watching your story will be able to tap the hashtag sticker or text to visit the hashtag page and explore related posts.

Eraser Brush

Finally, the color pen set provided in the app is being augmented with a new ‘Eraser Brush’ that’ll cover the whole screen with the color you’ve picked and then you can erase parts of the photograph you want to reveal. This has been described in the blog post as under:

After you’ve taken a photo or video, select a drawing tool and tap and hold to fill the entire screen with color. Then, using the eraser brush, you can creatively reveal parts of your photo or video underneath.

Now, one can simply say that Instagram’s transition process from being a photo-sharing app to a mixture of a whole lot of things is finally complete. Though the Facebook-owned company appended its existing user experience with one of the popular features of the app popular among millennials, the magic touch of the original app hasn’t been phased out. It is now truly an amalgamation of both Instagram and Snapchat in one app, thus, killing the need for the latter.

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