Twitter adds photo filters in battle with Instagram

As promised, Twitter has added Instagram-style features to its service, allowing users to edit photos and apply filters.

The move follws the announcement by Instagram last week that it was to disable Twitter Cards, a feature that allowed Twitter users to view full versions of photos on the social network. Pictures now appear distorted or badly cropped.

But Twitter’s fighting back with the new features, available as an update to the Twitter apps for iPhone and Android.

“Starting today, you’ll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter,” writes senior designer Coleen Baik on the Twitter blog. “The latest versions of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android introduce a few new ways to enhance the images you tweet.”

The filters and effects come courtesy of partner Aviary, but are less comprehensive than those of Instagram. There are just eight filters, compared with Instagram’s 18.

Other features include the ability to take a ‘birds-eye view’ by seeing how each filter affects a photo in a single grid view, or swiping through looks to compare options. Users can crop and pinch to zoom, and an auto-enhance feature designed to balance light and colour levels.

Meanwhile, Instagram has itself released an update for iOS devices, which incudes a new camera view and icon, a new filter and improved Foursquare integration.

Both Twitter and Instagram seem to have had enough of seeing their users slide off to the other service – particularly now that Instagram is owned by Facebook. The amount of time users spend on a site is, of course, a key metric for advertisers.