Instagram: version 2.0

September 29, 2011

Last week Instagram version 2.0 arrived, giving the photo sharing app’s 10 million users live filters, instant tilt-shift, high-resolution photos and a much more robust user experience – and in a drive to gain more market share from their competitors, such as Flickr and Google’s Photovine.

CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom claims these changes are “important to bringing Instagram to masses” and will “take us from 10 million to 100 million users [changing] the game in the terms of usability and efficiency.”

Instagram is already a phenomenon – and these new updates, billed as the biggest change since they launched, will help to boost its appeal even further.

Of the new changes the biggest see the introduction of live filters and tilt shift. This allows you to choose how the photo looks in real time and which lens best suits your subject as you take a photo (as opposed to afterwards).

Other changes include increasing the photo resolution, the addition of some new lenses and greater speed in applying filters (while it previously took the application six seconds to apply a filter, it now only takes six milliseconds).

Instagram and the mainstream

The growth of Instagram is certainly impacting on the mainstream. Other platforms have also taken notice – as we reported here  the big players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have launched either new platforms or additional functionality to compete with the huge popularity of Instagram.

More and more brands are also recognising the importance of having a presence on Instagram. While the visual nature of the app is obviously perfect for fashion brands such as Burberry, there are opportunities for brands from a range of industries to take advantage of – food, travel and beauty to name just a few.

What brands are doing well on Instagram already? Starbucks currently has over 98,000 followers, asking followers to tag their coffee photos with #starbucks, while Burberry has around 91,000. ABC World News is a great example of how Instagram can be used to communicate breaking news while Jamie Oliver does the same for food. Brands like BMIBaby and ASOS are also doing innovative things within the space and we’re likely to see more brands sign up as the app’s popularity rises.

The mainstream appeal of Instagram is demonstrated by the launch of the first ever UK exhibit of Instagram photos at a gallery – entitled – in London in late October 2011.

Yet one challenge still remains – Instagram is still only available on the iPhone. There is no android app yet.  The company continue to stress that an Android version will be created and Systrom recently stated that: “Getting version 2.0 out the door opens up a lot of time to work on new stuff”.

The importance of this was shown yesterday when Flickr launched its Android app yesterday – complete with Instagram-like filters.

Flickr has stolen a march on their main rival and it’s crucial that Instagram quickly develop their Android app before they are left behind.


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