Twitter adds photo filters, glares at Instagram

It's a first step towards "improving the entire photo experience", apparently

In a move that has shocked precisely no one watching the ongoing spat between Instagram and Twitter, the latter has revealed in a blog post that the iOS and Android versions of its client now enable users to apply Aviary filters to filters prior to posting.

"As one of the most compelling forms of self-expression, photos have long been an important part of [the Twitter experience]," read the blog post. This client now enables you to add one of eight filters, optionally previewing them all at once before confirming, reframe your image (including a not-at-all-Instagram-like square option) and to 'auto enhance' it.

On his blog, developer Marco Arment noted there was probably a demand for the new functionality, but suggested that "it's hard not to see it as a mediocre attempt to clone and hurt Instagram". He also commented that it's an "error to assume Instagram is primarily about filters," given that it's a successful network in its own right. To that end, he figured Twitter's new filters probably won't affect Instagram too much.

However, with the iOS release still in review, tech pundit John Gruber questioned the timing of Twitter's announcement, noting that it aligned with an Instagram update: the implication being that Twitter designed it as a spoiler of sorts.

Regardless of motivation, Twitter's move once again showcases its gradual, seemingly irreversible shift towards becoming a self-contained silo rather than the network that could have underpinned and connected the rest of the social web.