Instagram reveals new web profiles in a bid to make photos even more shareable

6 Nov 2012

In a move that not only enhances Instagram’s existence as a social network in its own right but that should also send out a warning shot to services like Flickr, Facebook-owned Instagram has launched a new web profile feature.

An Instagram web profile features a selection of the user’s recently shared photos just above their easy-to-edit profile photo and bio, providing an at-a-glance snapshot of the photos you share on Instagram.

The web profiles feature makes it easy to follow users, comment and like photos.

Describing Instagram web profiles as a beautiful new way to share your Instagram photos, the company blogged: “You’ve asked for Instagram on the web and we’ve listened. Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out Instagram profiles on the web!”

Instagram burst onto the scene in the last year or so with a popular iPhone app (now also available on Android) that allows users to add vintage filters on their smartphone photos and share them across their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr networks.

The app swiftly became one of the most popular apps on the planet and Facebook acquired the company earlier this year for an estimated US$1bn. Post-IPO filings reveal the final price Facebook paid for Instagram came in at US$715m.

Instagram privacy and mobile device-only uploads

In terms of privacy, Facebook’s influence on the development of the web profiles service is apparent. “If your photos are set to public, anyone will be able to see your profile by visiting[your username] on the web. You do not have to be an Instagram user to view a public user’s profile on the web.

“If your photos are set to private, your photos will be visible only to logged-in Instagram users you’ve allowed to follow you.”

Another interesting quirk of the new service is that despite bringing Instagram to the web, the service will only accept/publish photos from mobile devices. “Instagram is focused on the production of photos from mobile devices so users are not currently able to upload from the web,” it said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years