If you ever had any doubt that Instagram Stories was heavily inspired by Snapchat, today's update should erase all uncertainty. Instagram is rolling out face filters, similar to the ones it launched with Facebook Stories, which are almost an exact replica of the Lenses that made Snapchat famous.
There's a gold laurel wreath that looks similar, as well as some now-standard animal faces. This isn't to say that Instagram Stories' filters aren't beautiful in their own right. An ice queen mask lets its chilly wearer "breathe" frost, and another with geeky glasses scribbles math equations along the top of the screen as you record a video.
"The designs reflect the craft and creativity that have been core to Instagram since day one," an Instagram spokesperson said of the release. "From spotlights that track your position to the subtle twitch of a koala's ear, we paid close attention during the design of face filters to make them as dynamic, playful, and natural as possible."
In addition to the new face filters, Instagram Stories is launching a slew of new creative tools. "Rewind" is a camera mode that will reverse the action, returning a dropped Frappucino to your hands in one whipped-cream-topped piece — or throwing tossed confetti backwards into the air from which it fell.
A new eraser brush works kind of like a scratch card. After taking a photo, you can fill the entire screen with colour; then, use the brush to cleverly reveal only parts of the image beneath.
And if all of this isn't quite enough for one update, there's a new hashtag sticker. Personalise the sticker, then tap it to see related posts — just as you'd tap a mention to see someone's Instagram profile. This implies that Stories might be searchable in the same way that Instagram posts are.
Head here to see all the tools in action. Then, prepare to see kitty-cat whiskers and flower crowns everywhere you look — er, tap.