Unless you live on another planet, you have definitely heard of Instagram; the photo-sharing social network strictly launched on mobile almost 18 months ago and was purchased a bit less than a year ago by Facebook for a hefty $1B! We, among other experts and blogs, always argued whether Instagram will have any web presence. Instagram opened up its website to the world back in Fall 2012 and 72 hours ago starting rolling out home feeds for everyone, a step which many pundits are saying that it might affect Instagram’s uniqueness of being only on mobile.
Instagram doesn’t have a tablet version and had barely any web presence or importance at all. It was one of those social networks that had the user attached to emotionally. It was your “break” during your lunch break or cigarette break, it isn’t like Twitter where you might have the its web interface open in one of your tabs on your computer browser, and it wasn’t like Facebook where you would have your newsfeed open on your browser the moment you open your laptop, it was on your mobile, to be checked once or twice a day on average but now, it is obvious that everything is changing, and just as we expected, the baby social network is growing out of just being on mobile.
When Facebook acquired Instagram, both Facebook and Instagram wrote in their official releases and blogs that the acquisition will not affect the mission, vision, and road map of Instagram, but isn’t it really? So what is new with the new news feed? Basically, it means that now users can now scroll through filtered photographs from their PCs, they can view, like, and comment on the photos and images of whom they are following, head over here and try it for yourself. Instagram will eventually take its own independent space on your browser, in its own tab.
“Simply put,” writes Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, “we’ve brought a simple, powerful, and beautiful Instagram browsing experience to the web.” Here’s how it works:
“Your Instagram Feed on the web functions much like it does on your mobile phone. You can browse through the latest photos of people whom you follow with updates as people post new photos. Like photos by double clicking on them or pressing the like button. Or, engage in a conversation around a photo with inline commenting. Browse through pages of the most recent images to keep up on what’s happening with the people you follow in realtime. And shrink your browser down to a single column for your feed to look more like your mobile feed.”
You could previously browse your own pictures at a specific URL — instagram.com/thesocialclinic, for example — but this is the first time a real-time feed of the mostly mobile service has been made available on a browser.
There are, of course, still a number of differences between Instagram.com and the mobile app. Most importantly, you still can’t upload pictures or add filters at Instagram.com. The website is for passive viewing, Liking and commenting.
We learned from Instagram’s updated terms of service debacle last December that the company’s intention is “to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram.” We can only imagine some of that ad “experimentation” will take place on its web platform.
But there are advantages to web viewing. First and foremost, the site can inform you when new pictures arrive. In the mobile app, you have to hit reload to get the same effect. Instagram.com will tell you how many posts from people you follow have been added since last you looked, and the number pops up in your browser tab — just as it does with Twitter’s web client.
There’s plenty of white space down the side of your feed, suggesting this might be one area where Instagram can put ads in the future, as Facebook looks for more ways to monetize the service.
As Instagram evolves, so will its financial and business model, and we will be always here to update you with the latest & freshest news!