Instagram has launched Boomerang today, a new app for iOS and Android to create and share animated photos that play forward and backward.
From the Instagram blog:
Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again.
Press a button and the app does the rest. Boomerang takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward. Shoot in portrait or landscape. Share it on Instagram. Boomerang automatically saves it to your camera roll. We’re inspired by the visual stories you tell on Instagram. With looping videos and Hyperlapse, you experiment with motion in new and exciting ways. Now, with Boomerang, we can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.
Based on a first test, Boomerang is refreshingly simple to use and in line with Instagram's other single-purpose app, Hyperlapse. You start the app, point the camera, and tap the shutter button to generate an animated photo, which will be saved locally as a video. Optionally, you can send a "boomerang" to Facebook or Instagram, where it'll be treated as a regular video shared on the service (on Instagram, for instance, you can add effects to the video, frame it, and more).
Boomerang launches at an interesting time, with the iPhone 6s now being capable of taking Live Photos that capture a photo's moment with an actual video. Boomerang has no support for Live Photos and is, in fact, positioned as something else entirely – a mini video obtained by stitching together pictures and looping them forward and backward in a mesmerizing animation.
The launch of Boomerang follows a general direction at Instagram to diversify the type of content shared on the platform, which now includes portrait and landscape media as well.
Boomerang is available for free on the App Store.