Twitter vs Instagram: The battle hots up

The Twitter vs Instagram war has taken another twist. While the pair used to be pretty friendly, that all changed when Facebook bought mobile photo sharing app Instagram for $1bn in April.

First Instagram withdrew support for a feature on Twitter which made sure that images were properly displayed on the social media site.

It meant photographs were cropped in all the wrong places. But Instagram boss Kevin Systrom said the move was designed to push people towards the firm’s own improved website to give them “the best experience”.

Then Instagram went further by stopping its members from embedding images in a Twitter message at all so anyone who wants to share an Instagram image has to post a link instead.

Now Twitter has retaliated by introducing its own retro-style filters. It’s part of an anticipated move to take more control over its service. It certainly makes sense that Twitter is choosing to focus more on photographs, especially when you consider that the most viewed Tweet ever was that heart-warming image of Barack Obama hugging his wife Michelle after his election victory.

The new in-house filters will be introduced to Twitter’s mobile apps and are being provided by Aviary, which is a photography editing firm.

In a blog to announce the new feature, Twitter says: “Every day, millions of people come to Twitter to connect with the things they care about and find out what’s happening around the world. As one of the most compelling forms of self-expression, photos have long been an important part of experiences.

“Starting today, you’ll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter. The latest versions of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android introduce a few new ways to enhance the images you tweet. We’re grateful to our partner Aviary, for powering our filters and effects.”

And talking of filters, there are eight to choose from, which include black and white, warm, cool, vintage, cinematic and happy.

There’s also a bird’s-eye view function so you can see how each filter would change your photo in a single grid view. You can crop and pinch your images to frame them at their best, and make sure the light and colours are well-balanced by selecting auto-enhance.

But Instagram certainly isn’t resting on its laurels and has already released an update for Android and iOS devices which features a new filter called Willow which turns your images monochrome with “subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border”.

There is also an improved camera interface which promises a better depth of field. Also, Instagram has joined forces with FourSquare, the location-based social media site, to deliver a better service for users who like to geotag their snaps to let their friends know exactly where they were taken.

It comes as Facebook is preparing to merge personal data from Instagram accounts with its own as part of its integration plans. Members voted against the changes by a massive 88 per cent. But Facebook rules state the site can go ahead with its proposals anyway because there was a less than 30 per cent participation rate.

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