Free, fun and simple – that’s what Instagram was all about. You took a photo with your mobile phone and applied some crazy effect so that your friends would never be bored with your photos again (though they might be trying to figure out what the heck it was a photo of in the first place).
In a cash/stock deal, Facebook bought Instagram for one billion dollars and intends to integrate it into the Facebook experience. Facebook has already begun confusing members out of using the website, and I’m hoping that Instagram won’t add to the mix.
Posting photos to Facebook has long been a standby on my web-posting decision tree. For various reasons I split them carefully between Facebook, Google+ and Picasa, Flickr, and Kodak Gallery, to name a few. Now I’m musing over what Facebook will do with my Instagram photos.
On the privacy jitter side of the equation the possibilities are endless. Will it learn my location? Learn my likes and dislikes? Invite me to be friends with people who take the same photos? Offer my demographic the special anti-aging filter?
On the usability side, it could be fun, if done correctly. Facebook already has mobile uploads of photos and videos. And despite the instruction page, they are pretty simple. What Instagram presumably adds is the notion of having a little fun with your photos prior to posting. That can either make them a lot more interesting to look at (or at lot less) depending on your tolerance for special effects. Because my Facebook wall already looks like the abominable graffiti monster took a swipe at it, I’m not looking forward to seeing Instagrams from friends on a minute by minute basis. Prove me wrong, Facebook?
For the real pessimists amongst us, Gizmodo writes about Instagram.me, a way to get your photos off the site before they wind up in a Facebook timeline.