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Twitter adds Instagram-like filters as social war escalates

Twitter Photo Filters

By Heather Kelly, CNN

(CNN) — A day after confirming it had lost the ability to display Instagram images, Twitter has rolled out its own library of retro filters for its Android and iPhone apps.

The eight filters are the usual suspects we’ve come to expect from mobile photo apps, including desaturated, black and white and high contrast. There are auto-adjust and cropping options, as well as a helpful grid view that lets you see what each filter will look like at once.

“The latest versions of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android introduce a few new ways to enhance the images you tweet,” said Twitter senior designer Coleen Baik in a blog post announcing the new features. She emphasized that images are important to Twitter users, and called photos “one of the most compelling forms of self-expression.”

The new filters were designed especially for Twitter by photo-editing service Aviary, which also handles edits for various partners such as Flickr and Twitpic. What the effects lack in originality, they will no doubt make up for in popularity. Filters are an easy alternative to tinkering with an image in a photo editor, and their retro aesthetic has helped Instagram get more than 150 million users.

Instagram also released an app update Monday, giving its iOS app a fresh new look and adding a new black and white filter. There’s a new grid overlay, better tilt-shift effects and a bigger shutter button among other tweaks.

Twitter is in direct competition for users and ad dollars with Facebook, which owns Instagram. Until this week, if you shared an Instagram photo on Twitter, it would appear in the expanded tweet. But on Sunday, the companies confirmed that feature was no more, the image replaced with a link to the photo on Instagram’s site.

The addition of in-app filters is great for Twitter users who didn’t like the extra step of launching Instagram or another photo editing app to spruce up images. Twitter first added the ability to include images in tweets a year and a half ago.

Slight improvements on the individual social networks might not make up for the larger loss of cross-service functionality, but the split between competitors was inevitable.

If you have an Android device, the updated Twitter app is available now in the Google Play store. It is coming soon to Apple’s App Store.