Snapchat's latest feature that Facebook will surely steal: group stories

Snapchat's latest feature that Facebook will surely steal: group stories

Snap Inc., the maker of photo and video-sharing app Snapchat, unveiled a new tool that will let people collaborate with their friends on video stories about events, a product update that could provide a boost in its race to stay ahead of Instagram.

Starting today, you'll see new "rings" at the top of the Explore feed showing you stories taking place near your physical location - a city, for example. You better believe I've been using the hashtag sticker like insane.

With location-based Stories, which are rolling out to the Instagram app now, users are able to search for any city, town, landmark or local business and see a Story tied that particular location. Like everything Snapchat, your custom stories will disappear 24 hours after going live; especially when no one contributes. So, the next time you search for #yoga or another hashtag, you may see a story ring at the top of the page filled with stories using that tag. After a few minutes, you should get a notification that your story has been added to the overall story for the location. You'll then see a map, top posts and the story for that location.

Supermodels Jasmine Tookes, Martha Hunt and Barbara Palvin appear in a new promo spot for the social network's "Custom Stories" feature.

You'll also start seeing story rings for hashtags, but you'll need to search for those. Each user is limited to three custom Stories at a time.

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Once updated and activated in your Snapchat account, custom Stories will enable you to create global and geofenced stories with friends of your choice.

Snapchat has its sleeves rolled up and is battle-ready to give Instagram and Facebook a run for their money.

In terms of how you actually use the new features, it kind of depends on what you're into. Now, the app stands to lure even more users to its Stories as the feature as users can now effectively find and watch new Stories for as long as they want.

Possibly exciting for some, there's a chance your photos and videos can be added to a larger story, too.

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