Posts tagged with "instagram"

Instagram is Rolling Out Live Video and Enhanced Direct Messages

Instagram announced two new features today. The first is live video in stories. Swiping right opens stories mode, a feature similar to Snapchat stories, which was introduced in August. Instagram is rolling out live worldwide video over the next few weeks. When you begin broadcasting live, your followers may receive a notification that you are live. In addition, Instagram says that:

When someone you follow starts a live story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar. During the broadcast, you can comment and like as much as you want. You can also check out new live stories on Explore. Tap “Top Live” to see exciting live stories happening at that moment and swipe right and left to easily skip around.

Comments can also be turned off altogether. When you are finished recording, your live story disappears.

Images courtesy of Instagram.

Images courtesy of Instagram.

The second feature rolled out by Instagram is disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct. Regular direct messages, which have been around since last year, will continue to work as they have in the past, but now you can also take a picture or video from within the stories UI and tap the right-facing arrow button to send it to a friend or group. After the photo or video has been viewed, it disappears. If the recipient takes a screenshot, you are sent a notification.

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Instagram Adds Boomerang Mode, Mentions, and ‘See More’ Links to Stories

Instagram Stories continue to evolve with three new features introduced today. The first is called Boomerang. Swiping below the shutter button in the Stories UI switches between ‘Normal’ and ‘Boomerang’ mode. Tapping the shutter button in Boomerang mode takes a burst of photos that is turned into a short video that is played continuously forward and backward.

Instagram also added Mentions to Stories that work just like they already do in captions and comments. Add ‘@‘ followed by a username to an Instagram Story and the username becomes a link that will take you to the person’s profile. The person mentioned also receives a notification that they were mentioned in a Story.

Finally, verified Instagram users can add a ‘See More’ link to Stories that opens an external web page inside the Story. ‘See More’ links are described by Instagram as a test feature. To try them, Instagram suggest checking out the accounts of Duane Johnson (@therock), Chance the Rapper (@chancetherapper), and Bustle (@bustle).

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Instagram Introduces New Stories Feature

Today, Instagram is rolling out a separate feed of photos and videos called Stories, which expire after twenty-four hours, much like Snapchat’s stories feature. Instagram’s Stories, introduced with a post on the company's blog, adds a separate row of circular avatars to the top of your Instagram feed. According to The Verge’s Casey Newton, who has an in depth look at the new feature and interview with Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and CEO:

Each bubble represents an account that you follow on Instagram, and contains every photo and video clip (up to 10 seconds) that they've posted to their stories feed within the past day. (The avatars are displayed according to an algorithm that attempts to show your favorite accounts first.) Tap a bubble and their story will open in full screen, advancing automatically with a slick rotating cube effect. Unlike Snapchat, you can tap on the left-hand side of the screen to rewind the feed back to an earlier post.

Unlike the main Instagram feed there are no likes or public comments, but you can tap a photo to send a private message to the user. Privacy settings work the same way as your existing Instagram settings. If you account is private, only your followers will see your Stories. If your account is public, your Stories will be too.

The point of Stories is to get people to use Instagram more often. According to Newton:

Instagram describes its stories product as a way to promote the sharing of moments that don’t meet the higher bar of a traditional Instagram post. But it’s also designed to get people to share more, period. The Information reported in June that the average number of Instagram posts per user declined between 2013 and 2015. Meanwhile, consumption of video alone on Snapchat increased 25 percent between February and April, to 10 billion views a day, according to Bloomberg.

To reinforce the message that Instagram Stories are an informal place to share candid photos with friends, Instagram has added a series of tools to decorate your photos by using a limited set of filters, drawing tools, text and emoji.

Screenshots courtesy of Instagram.

Screenshots courtesy of Instagram.

It will be interesting to see to what extent Instagram users take to Stories. I know friends who view the relatively low volume of their Instagram feed as a feature of its own because it doesn’t need to be checked as frequently to stay current. I also wonder how well informal stories will co-exist with the more curated, artistic feel of the existing Instagram feed. However, in a world where attention and engagement are the main drivers of social networks, it certainly isn’t surprising that Facebook would take Instagram in this direction. The only question is how many users will follow.

You can watch Instagram's video introducing Stories below.

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Instagram Adds Basic Extension Support

Tucked away in an update to Instagram described as “Bug fixes and performance improvements” is a share extension that allows you to share photos to Instagram from Apple’s Photos app or any other photo app that supports share extensions. A share extension is a long time coming to Instagram, which previously required you to import photos into Instagram from your Photo Library or take a snapshot or video using Instagram.

Unfortunately, the Instagram share extension’s functionality is limited. All you can do is add a title to the photo you post to Instagram. There is no way to crop your shot, apply filters, tag people, select a location, or select social networks on which to share your photo, all of which are available in the main app. Even so, the addition of a share extension is a welcome addition to Instragram, which received a significant design refresh and new icon last month.


“It’s Still a Camera”

Armin Vit has a smart take on the Instagram icon redesign (via John Gruber):

Unlike Uber, that replaced it’s “U” for a metaphysical atom, the change here is only aesthetic. It’s still a camera. Yes, at first it will be hard to recognize it, but when you have 200 million people tapping on it everyday, multiple times a day, that’s the kind of brand engagement that Coca-Cola or Nike would kill for. When it comes to “brand impressions” and “brand touchpoints”, Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter and, yes, even Uber) have no shortage of opportunities so it will only be a matter of time — three months, probably — before this is known, recognized, and considered as the Instagram app icon. Simply by repetition and usage. Hell, I was starting to get used to the Uber icon until they pulled out of Austin this Monday.

If people ever stop checking Instagram obsessively, I don't think it'll be because of an icon change.

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Instagram Says Goodbye to Skeuomorphism with New Icon, Redesign

Long after Apple abandoned skeuomorphism with the introduction of iOS 7, Instagram held onto the past with its Kodak Instamatic-inspired icon. It had been so long since Instagram’s icon was updated that you could count on a flurry of snarky jokes on Twitter every time the app was updated without an icon redesign.

Today, nearly three years since iOS 7 was introduced at WWDC in 2013, Instagram has unveiled a redesigned icon, not only for its flagship app, but also for Layout, Boomerang, and Hyperlapse.

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Pete Souza’s Year on Instagram

Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer, writing on Medium:

Many followers have inquired about whether a certain photograph is taken with an iPhone or DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera). In choosing the photographs for my year on Instagram, I decided to select only iPhone photographs that were captured in the square format on an iPhone. For many purists, the square format was the original inspiration for Instagram. And I certainly admire those that continue to post only square photos taken with a smart phone.

My approach to my Instagram feed continues to be all square photos are taken with an iPhone, and full-frame horizontals and verticals are taken with a DSLR (usually a Canon 5DMark3, but I’ve also posted some from Sony, Nikon and Leica cameras).

There's a beauty about Instagram's original square format – a creativity derived from the boundaries of constraint – that I still see as the purest expression of mobile photography. Some of Souza's photos are somewhat staged, but the majority of them have taken on the spur of the moment, where a smartphone makes for an excellent storytelling tool. Fantastic shots. I love the last one.

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Instagram Updates Its Platform Policy, Prohibits Third Party Instagram Feed Apps

As reported by TechCrunch, Instagram yesterday announced several changes to its 'Platform Policy', the document that developers must agree to abide by if they want to use Instagram's APIs. The changes will impact a number of developers, but one of the most significant consequences is that third-party apps which would present a user's Instagram feed will not be permitted under the new rules.

That means the many third-party apps which sprung up to offer the Instagram feed on platforms which Instagram has never supported, whether it be Flow for the iPad, Photoflow for the Mac, or Tangram for the Apple TV, will no longer be permitted.

On its Developer Blog, Instagram notes that the changes are aimed at improving "people's control over their content and set up a more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the platform". Instagram wants developers using its API to work on apps that do things such as:

Help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps, such as apps that let you print your photos and import an Instagram photo as a profile picture.

Help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience, develop their content strategy, and get digital rights to media. Established apps in this space may apply for our newly announced Instagram Partner Program.

Help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media using web embeds.

Instagram is adopting a phased approach to implementing the new policy - new apps will be reviewed under the new policy, and Instagram will begin granting full API access starting December 3, 2015. Existing apps will need to be re-approved under the new policy, but they will have until June 1, 2016, to do so. Instagram is also introducing a new Sandbox Mode which will give developers access to the Instagram API so that they can privately build and test their apps whilst their app is being reviewed by Instagram.