It's no news that 2017 was not Snapchat's year. For those who paid attention to the tech sphere, the messaging app began 2017 on top -- even refusing to be bought out by bigger tech giants to maintain their autonomy. Since then, however, a lot has changed.

With Instagram and Facebook stories now a prevalent presence in our contemporary social media use, it's impossible to ignore that Instagram has very successfully duplicated the things people liked most about Snapchat's interactive features (real-time, seemingly more authentic instant video recordings than a curated and filtered photo, for one) and incorporated them seamlessly into their own products.

And, as shown by Snapchat's major dip in earnings last year, it appears that people have moved from one app to another altogether for their "story" needs.

Now, early in 2018, it seems that Instagram's done it again.

Just days ago, Instagram seemingly began beta testing a "Type" text stories feature in the app. The new feature allows users to pull up a totally gradient background in order to display only words, no photo. The lack of necessity of taking or uploading a photo allows people to showcase messages without a visual -- something Snapchat lacked altogether in its features.

WABetaInfo posted several screenshots of the "Type" feature in a use case, highlighting the number of tools -- such as text alignment -- available through the new feature. In addition, WABetaInfo is also reporting that Instagram is allegedly considering a feature where -- like Snapchat -- users would be notified when people screenshot their story.

After implementation, the alert would first be announced upon taking a screenshot of someone else's story, making you aware that, from then on, subsequent screenshots would notify the person that you've taken a screenshot of his or her story.

The new feature may change the way people currently use Instagram stories, especially considering that the differences between the app and Snapchat will rapidly decrease. And while the "Type" feature may be something Snapchat hasn't done before, it will be interesting to see exactly how useful a text-based story -- without a visual -- will be to users in the long run.

Published on: Jan 18, 2018