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Why Instagram Can Become The Mobile Social Hub

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Trey Ratcliff, creator of 100 Cameras and I
Trey Ratcliff, creator of 100 Cameras and I

Of all the apps on my iPhone, the ones that get most attention for me involve photos — from the built-in Camera app to Camera+ to photo filter apps such as Noir, ColorBlast and Hipstamatic. But it is photo-sharing network, Instagram that has become the center of my “photo” universe.

All photos taken and modified on my iPhone almost always end up on Instagram, where I share them with others. Nevertheless, it is not an easy process. I take photos, process them, save them and then have to import them into the Instagram app. I have often wondered why we couldn’t just simply export to Instagram or export from Instagram into other apps.

Click to enlarge

Today, half of that wish came true, when Trey Ratcliff, a computer programmer turned photographer emailed to let me know that his 100 Cameras in 1 iPhone/iPad photo app can now export photos manipulated by his app directly to Instagram. 100 Cameras and 1 is a photo filter software that allows you to add more effects to your photos.

This makes 100 Cameras in 1 the first app ever to be integrated with Instagram. It already allows you to share photos via email, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug, and DropBox, as I mentioned in my review of the app from earlier this year.

From Instagram’s perspective, this is a good move. The company had announced an API in February and since then a raft of new apps have come up to capitalize on it. While filters might have jumpstarted Instagram, the company which already has over 4 million subscribers, has to focus on its core value proposition — community and the social interactions around unique visual experiences.

I hope Instagram allows more apps to export directly to its network. By opening itself up to other apps and services, it has the potential to slowly become the hub of our mobile photo experiences. And in the end, that’s is what would make Instagram so much more valuable and in the process become the Flickr of mobile photos.

Here is a video interview with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

27 Responses to “Why Instagram Can Become The Mobile Social Hub”

  1. I use my Universal Filter on Twitter to block all Instagram pics.

    Sorry, it’s a signal::noise thing. All of those pics are an annoyance, like someone pulling out their children’s elementary school musical pictures from their wallet (old days).

    People’s fleeting moments of visual archiving are not nearly as interesting as they believe they are. Will you really ever look at them again?

    • I doubt that very much. A tacked on photo sharing service on Twitter will not have the same appeal that Instagram does. There’s very little overlap between the people I interact with on Instagram and those I interact with on Twitter.

  2. I’m the developer of CatPaint, an iPhone app that lets you add cats to your photos.
    Back when instagram first came out, I immediately recognized the potential… CatPaint pictures look AWESOME when they’ve been put through instagram. e.g.

    Shortly after that they launched their API. The problem is they only offer ways to harness the photo sharing aspects of their platform, and what I would like to do is harness the image filtering. Press a button in CatPaint, and have it launch instagram, ready to add effects and upload. This is technically doable, even with iOS’s limited inter-app communication.

    I’ve contacted them about adding this kind of api, but so far it’s not on their radar. It would be great because it would allow apps to get in on the vintage-filter game without re-inventing the wheel every time.

  3. and why not Lightroom. The quality of photos I see on Instagram is high. How are people processing them? My tag there is weblogtheworld, so follow me, please.

  4. Jef Wallace

    Photos have jumped the shark. Nobody cares what you look like. Instagram was an apex, Color was the clown moment when we all knew it was over. How inane the tech audience has become, endlessly photographing one another and pretending this will make a scrump of difference with our trade balance to China or anything else. Your photos are all embarrassing, so stop taking them, people.

  5. @Sachin – yes those other apps integrate with Instagram, but you can’t send a photo TO instagram FROM those apps. Know what I mean?

    Like the FoodSpotting app, for example. If you post an Instagram photo and use the #foodspotting tag and you have authorized the connection, then the Instagram photo will go into your Foodsptting stream. You can’t take a photo with the FoodSpotting app and send to Instagram. It’s not to say the FoodSpotting app won’t let you send a photo to Instagram in the future — it just doesn’t have it now.

    (and I don’t know about momento, but I think it is like other apps, like Screenstagram, that just pull photos from Instagram… and there are hundreds of apps like that.)

    • Great stuff Trey. Been waiting for something like this, so I’m definitely going to be giving your app a go!

      In my opinion Instagram is the most exciting new social network going. It’s already replaced Facebook and Twitter for me as the place to go for a bit of social fun.

      Android, web apps, etc. will come soon enough I’m sure.

  6. motionblurred

    Yahoo should feel embarrassed that a such a small startup can come in and become the de facto social photo app on the iPhone.

  7. I also wanted to congratulate Trey on connecting with Instagram. I love 100 Cameras in 1. It’s going to take me a long time to find uses for them all. But I’m exploring for sure.

  8. I don’t think so, Om. At least as long as Instagram is an iPhone-only app. Android, Blackberry users and others have to rely on other services for their photos, and they make up a large range of mobile users.

    • Uli

      They are a small company and I cannot fault them for being highly focused on a single community/platform for now. The focus has helped them improve the service quite a bit.

      That said, I don’t disagree – they do need to embrace Android fast. It will only help accelerate their already impressive growth.

      • Matthew

        OK, so they have an API, and there are websites I can get on that allow me to view instagram pictures. So, hasn’t somebody already written something like droid-stagram yet? Maybe they are hoping with the API that somebody will write an Android app for them, since Android sucks to develop for…