As I prepared to go to bed last night, a saucy email arrived that tickled my app fancy. ‘Instagram is out on Android’ it proclaimed, and I got excited. I was not the only one with over 3 million downloads from Google Play in mere hours of the app going live. Which then upset a bunch of iPhone users, some of which resorted to unsavory language to express their chagrin. Fanbois, eh?
Having never had the iOS privileged version, I bought into the whole “Instagram has changed photo sharing forever” as it sounded like a genuinely interesting concept. But time has not been kind to the app. Since being announced that the application was being ported to Android, other developers have stepped up to the plate. In some cases niche apps like Paper Camera surfaced, but then others such as Camera Zoom FX, Vignette and Pixlr-o-matic took the concept on and built it into the native sharing functionality of Android. The result? No need for a dedicated photo sharing community.
My Mother will not use Instagram, but she is sure interested in a sepia tinged portrait of my daughter. The concept of Instagram then changes, at least for me personally, to become useful only to those who wish to use Instagram exclusively.
The big three social networks are enough, and even though Instagram does not offer Google+ integration, the other photo effect type applications do by very nature of the way they are developed. The blurb for Instagram mentions “Every day you open up Instagram, you’ll see new photos from your closest friends, and creative people from around the world “. While evidently true, this also applies to Twitter, Facebook and, ahem, Google+. The apps are at a level now where you could setup your own circles or lists to give you the same functionality from users who regularly post pictures, but at the same time you are not preventing other followers and friends from viewing your photographic exploits. My Mother will not use Instagram, but she is sure interested in a sepia tinged portrait of my daughter. The concept of Instagram then changes, at least for me personally, to become useful only to those who wish to use Instagram exclusively.
And here lies the other problem with Instagram: you cannot save the photos to anywhere other than Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or Tumblr. You cannot save the images locally in the first instance. The only way is to first publish them to Instagram, and share the image from there which seems to be a long winded way of doing things. And even then, you are only sharing the link to the webpage which features your photo – the image itself is unavailable on a local level to the person that took it. If I want to share something on Facebook, I want to upload the actual image and not a link to it.
Instagram is a photo sharing mechanism that has purposely walled itself in. They have created a social network of sorts in the hopes that they have identified a gap in the market. For iPhone users, this clearly is not an issue because this model mirrors many aspects of Apple’s iTunes-centric way of doing things. But Android is more open, and has a different way of doing things. In that regard users would be much better off looking at one of the afor mentioned apps. They can still do all the same things with the photos as Instagram, but you are not hamstrung with how you can share them afterwards.
The Register: iPhone fanbois enraged by Instagram’s Android triumph
Instagram is available form Google Play here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.instagram.android