Instagram has launched perhaps its biggest ever change since it launched: stories.
The company is adding a whole new section to its app that will let people move away from posting pictures into a feed, and instead put them in a story that is sent to their friends.
Like Snapchat, people following a certain person will be able to see all posts from that person in their story. And, also like Snapchat, the app will launch with a range of tools that make it easy to draw and write on top of pictures.
Creating a story in Instagram
In the new version of the app, the top of the feed will also include small, round profile pictures of people that you follow. Pressing on that shows a story that can be clicked through, and users can also tap to send a direct message to a user about any particular post in a story.
Instagram says that the feature is meant to help people stop worrying about over-posting or sharing moments that they’d rather specific people not see.
“With Instagram Stories, you don't have to worry about over-posting,” the company said in its announcement blog post. "Instead, you can share as much as you want to throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want.
"You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won't appear on your profile grid or in feed.”
The company has also made clear that the feature is intended so that people don't ruin the highly-curated nature of their public Instagram feed.
"Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember," it wrote. "Now you can share your highlights and everything in between, too."
One of the central features of Instagram's stories are that they supply fine detail on who's watching them by swiping up – and similarly precise controls for stopping certain people doing so. While Instagram's stories follow the privacy settings of an account by default – letting anyone that follows a public account seeing them – people can choose to hide either whole stories or specific posts from certain followers.
Anything that's posted to a story can then be posted either to Instagram proper or downloaded for posting elsewhere.
The feature is expected to roll out soon with an update that will come through the app stores on iOS and Android.