If you’ve been paying attention, maybe you’re among the users with the Instagram Stories feature active who could see the video, which was displayed today on the top bar of the application, announcing the updates related to mentions, links and an online version to use the Boomerang tool in Stories.
The result is a product that feels more alive than before, and for the first time manages to differentiate itself from Snapchat.
Links and mentions in Instagram Stories
The new features represent the biggest story update since its release. But only a few of them will be available to everyone for now. The links, which allow users to attach hyperlinks to individual Instagram stories, will be available to verified users only. When a link is added to a story it will read the words “see more” at the bottom of the story.
This marks the first time that links have been allowed anywhere in Instagram beyond user profiles. Nathan Sharp, Instagram product manager, told The Verge that the company added links to Stories in response to the large number of brands using the feature to promote content there. By adding the links, users will not have to leave the application.
On the other hand, all users will be able to use mentions, by using the type tool in an add-on and typing “@” will open a tray of their frequent contacts. They will then be able to be tagged whether they are in it or not, and will be notified by a direct message from Instagram.
The links represent an advantage of Instagram Stories over Snapchat. Now each story offers the opportunity to highlight a person, place or brand. If you’re a creator, that might be a reason to focus your efforts on Instagram instead of Snapchat, which offers fewer tools for finding new accounts.
Boomerang in Instagram Stories
Other updates are related to the use of Boomerang, Instagram’s one-year standalone application for making looping videos. It now appears as a creative tool within the stories that is available without requiring the application to be installed on the phone.
The introduction of Stories to Instagram presaged a world where each social application would eventually merge into one. But with today’s updates, available on the App Store in version 9.7 , the company has shown that the Stories format is more flexible than it seems.