08/11/2016 12:55 PM IST | Updated 08/11/2016 5:15 PM IST

2016: The Year When Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram were 'Inspired' By Snapchat

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Mike Segar / Reuters

When Mark Zuckerberg met Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel three years ago, he offered to buy his company. Later, it was reported that Spiegel turned down the deal that was potentially worth $3 billion. And now, there are reports that Snapchat is working on an IPO that would value the company at $25 billion.

On the other hand, Facebook, which was trying hard to acquire Snapchat, is now trying hard to emulate its competitor. This year, Facebook and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp and Instagram, have implemented many features that were obviously 'inspired' by Snapchat. Here is a summary of those features, app wise.


In 2014, Facebook released an app called Slingshot that was compared to Snapchat straightaway. However, to differentiate itself, Slingshot had this condition where if you received a message from someone, in order to be able to read it, you first had to send the sender a photo or a video. The feature was removed later and the app was made more 'Snapchatty,' with options such as storing a photo for 24 hours only. Eventually, the app was discontinued in 2015.

This year, the social network giant has released an app called LifeStage. Developed by a teenager, the app is geared towards teenagers. So much so, that only those in high school can use it. Although this app can't be called a Snapchat clone, it does draw a lot of elements from it such as filters and emoji trophies for friends.


Recent reports have also suggested that now, instead of experimenting with standalone apps, Facebook is going to integrate a new camera into the main app. The company is currently testing this in Ireland and encouraging users there to send goofy selfies. The new camera will also have something called digital masks that is similar to what Snapchat offers through its lenses.


People take notice when the world's biggest photo sharing app changes even a little. So how about implementing a feature that is 'Straight Outta Snapchat'! In August, the company released a new component called 'Instagram stories'. It stores your photos or videos for 24 hours before they vanish. Much like Snapchat's Stories feature.

To be fair, Instagram's CEO Kevin Systorm did give the credit where it was due. "Let's talk about the big thing," he said. "Snapchat pioneered a lot of this format. Whole parts of the concept, the implementation, down to the details."

There are minor differences in navigation and drawing in Instagram's implementation, otherwise it is pretty similar to what Snapchat is offering.


The world's biggest messaging platform has also 'borrowed' certain 'idiosyncrasies' from Snapchat. In October, it introduced drawing tools which allow users to add text, doodle, stick an emoji over a photo and do more.


More recent reports suggest that WhatsApp is in the process of adapting Snapchat's Stories feature with a project called 'Status'. Status' beta version has already been rolled out for iOs and Android apps. The status tab will be placed between the chat and call tabs, and users will be able to post pictures that will vanish after 24 hours.

Facebook understands that Snapchat is now a big player in the social media market with a growing appeal to the young audience, something that the social network giant is itself known for. Since it failed to acquire Snapchat, it is now trying to implement similar features after tweaking them a little.

And, it always has its massive user base to try out the new features. According to Zuckerberg, a 100 million people are already using Instagram stories. That is an excellent adoption figure given that the feature was launched just two months ago. On the other hand, there is no slowing down Snapchat as its popularity among the young keeps growing.