For the first two years of its young life, photo sharing darling Instagram focused primarily on delivering its service to smartphone users. Although demand would have likely been great, the company’s founders decided to hold off on a browser-based component in order to become one of the pioneers of mobile photo sharing.
Instagram has had its share of ups and downs during its 2 short years of life, but we think we can safely say that this past week has been the lowest of lows for the popular-but-beleaguered photo sharing service. After hastily pushing out major edits to its terms of service in preparation for money-making plans, users complained, the media pounced, and Instagram backtracked, saying it would revise the terms to appease its users.
Those revisions happened today. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has announced that key sections of the service’s terms have been rolled back to its original 2010 condition. Read more…
If you had any doubts regarding how much of a part of our culture Instagram has become, just take a peek at the public outcry that erupted after Instagram announced changes to its policies yesterday. The controversial edits were reported in media outlets around the world, and legions of die-hard Instagram fans took to social media channels to protest them.
People mainly focused on a section of the document that appears to give Instagram sweeping permissions to sell photos without consent or compensation to third-parties for advertising purposes. Read more…
Earlier today, Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom took to the stage at the Le Web conference in Paris to talk about where his service is headed. He revealed that Instagram is planning to stay independent of Facebook for the foreseeable future and that the service is slowly cutting ties with its rival, Twitter. Read more…
Instagram is playing a bigger and bigger part in helping the public see and understand important events. At the GigaOM RoadMap conference held this past Monday, co-founder Kevin Systrom shared his vision of how Instagram needs to become a “big data company”. TechCrunch writes,
Systrom says Instagram’s focus is on “making meaning of all the data coming in, and improving the experience of curating.” For example, he said that there were only 85,000 #SuperBowl Instagrams, compared to the 800,000 #SandyGram. People can’t consume 800,000 photos, but they still want to pull valuable information from them.
He gave an example of how Instagram might one day be able to help “if you’re in New York and want to know what gas stations have gas.” That means both photo recognition, but also natural-language processing. Systrom also hinted at “photo location trends” that show where the most Instagrams are currently being taken.
The element of real-time photo sharing will allow Instagram to do things with photos that most photo-sharing services can’t. It’ll be interesting to see what “big data techniques” the company comes up with for making sense of its massive stream of live imagery.
The role Twitter played during Arab Spring in early 2011 gave the microblogging service a huge boost in legitimacy and pushed it into the mainstream. Instagram may be having a similar “coming of age” experience through its role in the ongoing coverage of Hurricane Sandy. Read more…
A couple of weeks ago, Facebook took everybody by surprise when they acquired Instagram; the massively popular — though not yet profitable — photo-sharing application. A few days ago we learned that they may have only just beat Twitter to the punch. Now rumors are flying about that Mark Zuckerberg not only acted on his own — without the Facebook board’s knowledge — but managed to lower Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s asking price from $2 billion to the reported $1 billion that Facebook shelled out. Read more…
If you’re an Android user patiently waiting for Instagram to arrive on your phone, your wait may soon be over. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom showed off the company’s upcoming Android version at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas this past weekend. The app is currently in private beta, and is set to be released soon. TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler writes,
Systrom also had one more thing up his sleeve — he showed off the company’s upcoming Android app. He waved it around very briefly on-stage, but he didn’t give a full demo. (That’s for later, and the company tells us they aren’t totally ready for a walkthrough yet.)
“In some ways, it’s better than our iOS app. It’s crazy,” he said.
He also states that they chose to stay exclusively on iOS until now to focus on scaling and innovating the app. The service just passed 27 million registered members and is rumored to be raising $40 million on a $500 million valuation.
For those of you who are interested in the business and technology side of things, here’s an interesting 45-minute interview in which Digg founder Kevin Rose chats with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom:
They chat about Systrom’s growing up with computers, his time spent at Stanford, and landing an internship at a startup destined to be worth billions. This ultimately led to launching Instagram which is now 15 million users strong and one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet!
The Fader has published an interview with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom that reveals how Systrom first got into photography, and how the service’s now-ubiquitous filters came about:
[...] my teacher handed me this plastic Holga camera and said, “You’re going to use this and learn to deal with imperfection.” I remember developing the first roll and the feeling I got from the vignetting and the light leaks that came from the blurry plastic lens. That transformed the way I looked at photography—from trying to replicate reality into taking a scene and creating some kind of interpretation of its mood.
Instagram started as a mobile check-in app, but after creating his first filter (XProII), Systrom realized they could do more with the concept. He then began creating new looks and spending a couple hours at a time trying to mimic the look of different photos.