Instagram Stories secretly testing ‘Type’ feature for written stories

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Image: lili sams/mashable

Instagram is not slowing down in 2018.

After Instagram crushed Snapchat — seriously, pounded the app into the ground — last year with its own disappearing Stories feature, the Facebook-owned app is now secretly testing a new “Type” feature that’ll let users share text-based clips instead of photos or videos.

The Next Web first spotted the feature back in December when it rolled out to a select group of private users in Japan, and now it appears Instagram is testing it on some users in Europe as well.

Mashable reached out Instagram and received the following statement from a company spokesperson:

“We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you.”

At least one Twitter user also noticed the new feature on a friend’s phone:

According to the report, the Type feature shows up as an option alongside the usual features like Boomerang, Superzoom, and Rewind. As you can see in the video below, the feature also comes with several fonts to pick from, including one in neon cursive:

WABetaInfo has posted several screenshots of the Type feature in action. One of the fonts, “Typerwriter,” also has an alignment tool.

When the Type feature is selected, users will reportedly get a gradient background for their text-based stories. Alternatively, they’ll also be able to use a photo for a background.

Though the feature is reportedly meant to encourage users to share more text-based clips, it’s unclear how it would be significantly different from simply taking a photo and using the existing text tool to add words on top.

WABetaInfo also reports that Instagram is testing a new screenshot notification that’ll send an alert to users when someone has taken a screenshot of their IG Story. Interestingly enough, the feature only gives you a warning after your first screenshot. Subsequent screenshots will sound the alarms.

“The next time you take a screenshot of a story, the person who posted it will be notified,” warns the alert.

Snapchat has a similar feature that lets you see who screenshotted your Snapchat Story and DMs.

As an Instagram Stories addict, who umm, “broke” it during a trip to Japan last year, Type and the screenshot notification would be welcome additions to the app. That said, just because the feature’s being tested on select users doesn’t mean it’ll ever be made widely available for all users. Instagram frequently tests new features that never make it out of the trial runs.

Even if the feature never makes it out of the beta tests, Snapchat should be worried. Instagram is iterating and adding new features at an insanely fast rate. If Snapchat doesn’t hit back this year with some sweet new features, its remaining users may flock to Instagram and never look back.

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