It’s common in the tech world for a new, successful app see itself copied by more established brands. Think of Snapchat, for instance; an app that delivers seconds-long video clips and pictures to friends, that was instantly mimicked by Instagram and Facebook.
So it was only a matter of time before the big apps came for TikTok. And that’s exactly what happened today with the release of Reels, Instagram’s new app that is a direct competitor to TikTok. Reels is already available in 50 countries, including the U.S. and Japan, and on both iOS and Android.
According to The Verge, Reels is very similar to TikTok, in that it lets users create short-form videos set to music that they can share with friends and followers. Videos last up to 15 seconds and can include filters and other effects. You don’t need to download a brand new app, either, as the Reels feature exists within Instagram, like the Stories feature. In fact, the app will ask you to choose between Stories and Reels when sharing.
Instagram revamped its Explore page so that Reels content displays at the top, similar to TikTok’s “For You” page. Both private and public options are available.
“I think TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing formats in this space, and it’s just great work,” Robby Stein, Instagram’s product director, told The Verge. “But at the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.”
The Reels announcement is well-timed. President Trump recently proposed a ban on TikTok. However, it’s a claim that may not hold up should the app sell to the American-owned company Microsoft. Either way, it looks like Reels offers an alternative experience. One easily shared with the people who already know and follow you, with the possibility for more growth within Instagram.
Featured Image: Instagram