Instagram which was recently bought by Facebook at a mind blowing $1 billion has rolled out an update to its Android and iOS apps. I don’t own any iDevice so my quick experience with version 3.0 of Instagram is based on the Android app. Just like wine, Instagram is getting better with age. The changes were announced via a blogpost on the official Instagram blog.
So what’s new?
There isn’t much to write home about but there are a few features in Instagram 3.0 for Android that are very noticeable and stand out above the rest. These are:
1. Photo Maps
This is the highlight of the whole update. It is well thought out and simply amazing. I normally look at apps from a developer’s point of view then to the user’s point of view but I never at any given time realized that I needed such a feature until I used it this morning.
I have never been a fan of geo-tagging every snapshot I make but Photo Maps on Instagram 3.0 is just the best. With it you can see all the photos you shared and geo-tagged on a map. Of course there’s an authorization request that you have to accept before you opt-in to Photo Maps which is a good thing for those of us who are too naïve and think that geo-tagging photos is creepy. The internet and privacy are always at a crossroads so that was a good anticipation by the Instagram team. I would’ve been amongst the first to point out the absence of such a feature.
2. New design for photo profiles
The profiles for users have gotten some love too in this update. Instagram 3.0 replaces the blue bar that used to dominate the top of the user profiles with a ribbon-like white interface that now is less cramped and places the following, followers and viewing style tabs and central to a user’s focus when viewing profiles of themselves or other Instagram users.
3. Longer captions when sharing photos
There are always those users who would prefer to have longer captions on their photos. Well, before hitting the share button, you now have the liberty to add a few more characters.
This is one feature that I will not be using soon since I like cross-posting my new snaps to Twitter thus I have to abide by the 140 character limit rule if I am to be effective. For other users this must be a welcome add-on.
4. Infinite scrolling
I think there is an aspect of “the infinite web” that has become the in-thing. Instead of moving from the interactive Web 2.0 directly to the semantic Web 3.0, there should be a timed stopover at Web 2.5 to be named “the infinite web”. Facebook has had this feature for over a year now, Twitter also has been having infinite scrolling for close to a year if I am not mistaken; just recently, WordPress too joined the bandwagon by introducing infinite scrolling to posts on blogs hosted on its wordpress.com platform. Instagram too could not be left behind and now its users (I included) can browse through their photo feeds without reaching the end (not unless you have exhausted the photos).
- New look photo upload screen
- Ability to report individual spam comments. This is a worthy intervention since I had spotted very many spam comments on the pages of most sportsmen and sportswomen during the just concluded London Olympics (case in point: the Instagram posts of LeBron James and Usain Bolt got the lions’ share of the junk)
- The app is more responsive and faster. No more freezes and abrupt force loses.
There is one feature that I really wanted Intagram to have. It seems that I will have to wait longer for it to be included: the ability to switch Instagram user accounts. This has become a necessity. Imagine you are running a corporate Instagram account or another account for your blog, Facebook fan page et al and still want to be able to share your personal photos using your personal account on your device, what do you do? For now you have to go through the tedious process of clearing the application data then signing in as another user. Quite hectic.
On Android? Head over to Google Play Store and grab your update now.
Here are the other screenshots of Instagram 3.0 for android rocking my Galaxy Tab.