What Is Instagram Doing With Their Web Profiles?

Instagram was one of those iPhone apps that was easy to use, gave you a way to share your precious moments with others, and quickly gathered an impressive fan base that couldn’t quit sharing their love for the app. In fact, just last April, Instagram was so hot, that Facebook decided to buy the company for $1 billion. Now talk about a pay day; that is unbelievable for company that just produced a simple camera app for the iPhone.

But, if you are an avid Instagram user, you always knew that something was missing. The fact that they made it so hard for you to access your pics on the web and to interact and see other friend’s Instagram photos was just a little strange to me. Before they sold to Facebook, I had always thought that they were sitting on a gold mine if they could successfully launch the web side of their app. Well, the day has finally arrived when we can now look at our pics online and have the ability to interact with others. I want to briefly show you around the new profiles on the web as well as talk about what could possibly lie ahead for the future of this app.

Web Profiles

When you first try to go to your Instagram profile on the web, they definitely don’t make it easy for you to get there. You have to know the web address for your profile, which is basically http://instagram.com/yourusername. It would be nice if you could just go to the Instagram website and log in with your credentials there.

Your web profile is pretty straight forward in that it will have all of the pictures you have taken on Instagram. At the top is your header that has some of the most recent pictures you took, and they rotate in and out. Below that you will see all of your pics and you can click on them and see your comments and likes that people have posted.

Snapshot of your Instagram profile

Snapshot of your Instagram profile

If you want to look at your friend’s pics, you have to again manually type in their profile website name to get there. But, once you are there, you can feel free to comment and like pictures that are on their site. I wish Instagram would make this process a lot easier for you to do, maybe have a search bar, or even have a way to see all of the people you are following or that are following you.

Commenting and liking a picture

Commenting and liking a picture

What Are They Trying To Do?

Before Instagram got bought by Facebook, I thought they had a clear chance to gain even more momentum and possibly become their own social network. Now that they got bought, I am still scratching my head as to what their plans are. I can understand that $1 billion is a lot of money and I am not sure if I would pass that up myself, but could they have shot themselves in the foot by doing that? Let me go into more detail about this.

As I have said before, a key missing feature of Instagram was the fact that they didn’t have a web presence, and it wasn’t necessarily hurting them, but it was something that would have definitely let them expand. Now, that they do have one, what are they going to do with it? They can’t really use it to compete with Facebook because that doesn’t make any sense at all. If that is the case, then why even have a web presence? To be honest, their web app at this point is practically useless and does nothing for me.

So what are they doing? Well, here is my best guess at this point and where I think they should go. They have gained great popularity as a photo service, so what if they became like a social Flickr service and absolutely killed Flickr on the web? Or what if they were to add video to their repertoire and become a place where you can upload your pictures and video and share them with the world? Yes, I know that is kind of what Facebook does, but if Instagram made it strictly for photos and videos and let you be interactive, it could actually work.

Final Thoughts

Although I welcome Instagram on the web, they definitely have not made it an easy experience to navigate. Granted, this is their first version of doing this and so I am holding out hope that in the future they are going to make it much more user friendly. It will be interesting to see where they go from here and what they decide to do. I fully get the fact that the connection with Facebook makes sense, and you have to think that behind the scenes they are planning something. I really hope, and I don’t think that Facebook will close up Instagram and integrate it into their own app, although that would make sense for them. It would truly be a waste to see it go away after all it has become.

So, I ask you, the reader, what do you think about Instagram and everything that I discussed? Are the web profiles a welcome addition? Do they need to do more or are you okay with the fact that the are so vanilla at this point? Does Facebook have greater plans for Instagram and if so, what do you think they are?