Now it’s Snapchat’s turn to do the copying.
On Tuesday, Snapchat rolled out its version of Instagram’s Boomerang feature that plays videos in a loop. Instagram was far from the originator of short, looping videos — see: animated GIFs, cinemagraphs, Vine videos and so on — but its Boomerang has popularized the use of looping videos to the point that, like Snapchat’s Stories product, it has become an important feature for any video-sharing app to adopt, even Snapchat.
Snapchat users can now set the video snaps that they post to Stories or send privately to friends to play on repeat until a viewer taps to the next snap. Unlike Instagram’s Boomerang, which limits the original video’s length to one second, on Snapchat, the original video can be up to 10 seconds long. And, unlike Boomerangs appearing in Instagram Stories, looping videos appearing in Snapchat Stories will stay on the screen until a viewer taps past it.
People can also now set the photos included in Stories or sent in chats to stay on screen indefinitely (or until a person taps through them). That’s a bit like Instagram’s option for viewers to press the screen to pause on a slide in someone’s Story. But the difference is that on Instagram, the time control is handed to the viewer, and on Snapchat, it’s given to the creator.
In addition to looping videos and infinite photos, Snapchat has also added a way to erase parts of an image, Photoshop-style (though not nearly as powerful), and to draw on the screen using emojis instead of a digital marker.