Before I jump into the news, let's get this out of the way: Yes, Snapchat was the originator of the Stories features. Yes, Instagram came up with a feature exactly like Snapchat last year. And yes, Instagram has mostly come out on top. Now for the big development: As of Thursday, social media users will be able to watch Instagram Stories online, and here's how you can view them.
According to BuzzFeed, Instagram has decided to update its Stories feature so that it's available for viewing via your mobile and desktop browsers. But there's not much of a difference between watching Instagram Stories within the Instagram app itself and online. As you would in your app, you would click on a user's avatar to view their story via the web.
Most users will be able to view Instagram Stories in their mobile and desktop browsers as of Thursday, but the process will take weeks to roll out completely, according to TechCrunch. That means sometime next month, all of the more than 250 million people who use Instagram Stories will be able to watch their friends' updates in three different ways. (It's worth noting that Snapchat, the social media platform that started the Stories feature craze, has 173 million users, according to Business Insider.)
Viewing won't be all that you can do with Instagram Stories, though. Soon, Instagram users will be able to upload Stories from their mobile browsers. According to the Verge, that feature will become available in the next few months. But don't expect access from your laptop: Instagram representatives told The Verge that the social media platform doesn't plan to allow users to upload photos or Stories via their desktop browsers. You win some, you lose some.
Does this mean it's time to throw caution to the wind and uninstall your Instagram app? Probably not. Sure, mobile and desktop viewing expands access to Instagram Stories, but if you've ever used a browser on a smart phone, you know they can be far more sluggish than a native app. And the user experience is different too. I know for me, navigating Facebook or Twitter, for example, via a mobile browser is not as intuitive as using the app.
Heck, the same goes for using the social networking sites on your desktop browser (but that just may mean I need a better internet provider). But I digress.
There's no doubt that this new development will make millions of Instagram users happy. Good on you, Instagram, staying ahead of the game and of that, um, competitor.