In the midst of its war with Twitter, Instagram reveals major update; UPDATE: Twitter adds filters to mobile app

new instagram updateJust as the battle lines being drawn between Twitter and Instagram grow thicker, the photo sharing platform has gone ahead and pushed a major update. “The camera has been the core part of the Instagram experience since the day we launched and as a result, we’ve made significant improvements to its look and speed,” the team has announced

Now, when you launch the camera feature within Instagram, you will see the brand’s stamp all over the interface. The app will also pull up the most recent photo from your phone’s gallery (which will get an even further upgrade if you’re using the iPhone 5). Instagram is also implementing a grid overlay for live shooting and a permanently-placed grid for scaling and cropping purposes. Overall, developers say “speed and reliability” are also improved.

new instagram camera and scale crop

willowAnd of course the most exciting part of any Instagram update is the addition of a new filter, and the team doesn’t disappoint. Now “Willow,” a black and white filter with purple undertones and a faint border glow has been added.

Instagram says its tilt-shift feature has also been upgraded. “With this update the blur you see is now the blur you’ll get! We’ve also completely overhauled the blur algorithm to increase quality and accuracy.” Reproducing your desired depth of field effects should be easier and the results better.

new tilt shiftA few other updates worth mentioning include a News Feed redesign that shows off larger images, infinite scroll on user profiles, tighter Foursquare integration, and the ability to save your filtered photos to a designated Instagram roll (this is for iOS only).

The new features do a really job of unifying the Instagram experience. Beforehand, the camera mode didn’t share the same interface and branding – or intuitiveness, for that matter – with the rest of Instagram. There are some overall design changes that make the whole thing smoother feeling and looking, and my gut says this is because Instagram is this close to make a big Web push and it’s getting its ducks in row beforehand.

The update is available for Android and iOS now. 

[UPDATE]

Moments after sending this post live, word broke Twitter is talking about its own photo filters. “Starting today, you’ll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter,” its blog reads. “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.” The app will boast eight filters, allow zooming and cropping, as well as auto adjust. And of course, you will be able to view this content in its full glory on Twitter – which by now you all know isn’t possible for Instagram images. The ante just keeps upping between these two. 

twitter filters
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