For a company that’s fixated on the power of mobile and photos through the small screen, it’s a huge step: Instagram is rolling out web profiles for users beginning Monday, finally allowing photographers to share their all of their uploaded images on the desktop web for the world to see.
Visually, the Instagram profiles now look like Facebook profiles — they both have photos across the top, whether in a checkboard pattern or Facebook cover photo — and that makes some sense, as the two companies grow closer together as part of their acquisition. But more importantly, the addition of a web presence allows people who don’t have Instagram accounts to add likes and comments, which in turn gives current users a bigger platform for displaying their photos.
In a blog post on the company’s website, Instagram noted that users will now be able to share their Instagram profiles on the web, scroll through all the photos they’ve uploaded, and comment and “like” photos through desktop browsers. They will not be able to actually upload and edit photos on the web — that core feature will remain mobile-only. Profiles will be available at instagram.com/[username].
The company has been slowly moving toward a desktop presence, adding the ability to like and comment on photos on the web in June, but the development of actual web profiles and photo galleries is a feature that’s been highly requested from users and will be the closest thing to an Instagram for the web that exists so far.
“You’ve asked for Instagram on the web and we’ve listened,” the company wrote in their post on Monday.
Users will have to be logged in to view photos of users with protected accounts. Web profiles will roll out slowly over the next few days as the company switches people over to the new feature.
The company that started out as a niche app for photo-sharing and filtering now has now ballooned into a service with over 100 million registered users. Purchased by Facebook at a deal originally valued at $1 billion, it’s dominating the photo-sharing space, as evidenced by the 800,000 photos most recently tagged during Hurricane Sandy, CEO Kevin Systrom said at GigaOM’s RoadMap conference Monday.