Posts tagged with "instagram"

Apple Joins Instagram, Highlights Photos Shot on iPhone

Apple launched an official Instagram account today, @apple. Rather than opting to promote general company news, the primary focus of the account appears to be functioning as an extension of Apple’s long-running ‘Shot on iPhone’ ad campaign.

Nearly all of the initial posts from the account are galleries featuring various photos and videos shot using iPhones. Each post’s caption reads ‘#ShotoniPhone by...’ followed by a list of the names and accounts of those who created the content, and a quote from those content creators about their work. The bio line of the account reads, “Tag #ShotoniPhone to take part.” Presumably using that tag may lead Apple to contact you about including your work in one of their upcoming collections.

While the focus of the account may change in the future, Apple’s current strategy of tying together its photography marketing campaign with the real work of photographers on Instagram is an effective, thoughtful use of the platform. By connecting with content creators and highlighting their work, Apple is not only fostering an environment of social connection among both amateur and professional photographers, but it’s also promoting the iPhone’s strengths as a camera.


Instagram Launches Snapchat-Style Face Filters and More

Instagram has announced several new features rolling out today, chief of which is another major borrow from Snapchat:

Today, we’re introducing face filters in the camera, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.

From math equations swirling around your head to furry koala ears that move and twitch, you can transform into a variety of characters that make you smile or laugh. To see our initial set of eight face filters, simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner.

The initial batch of eight filters is smaller than what's available on Snapchat, and it remains to be seen how often new filters will be added, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more growth in this area. Snapchat's advantage is not only in the number of filters, but also in its recent expansion of filtering technology in the form of World Lenses – and Instagram has made clear its commitment to beating Snapchat at its own game.

Also launching today is a new "Rewind" camera format to play videos in reverse, a hashtag sticker that can be used when crafting Instagram Stories, and a new eraser brush to complement the set of existing drawing tools.


Instagram Adds Tools to Organize Saved Posts into Collections

Instagram has a new feature rolling out this week to enhance the current tool that enables saving other users' posts:

Starting this week, you can save posts into private collections. Tap and hold the bookmark icon underneath any post to save it directly to a collection. You can create and name a new collection when you save a post, or you can add it to one you’ve already created. You can also create a collection out of your existing saved posts. Tap the plus icon in the top right corner, give your collection a name and select the saved posts you’d like to add.

You can find your collections on the saved posts tab on your profile. Just like all saved posts, your collections are private — only you can see them.

While some of Instagram's biggest new features of late have appeared focused on targeting Snapchat, the ability to save and organize posts into collections brings Instagram closer into Pinterest's space. Although all collections of saved posts are private at the moment, it wouldn't be too surprising to see a future option to make select collections public.

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Instagram Posts Expand to Include Multiple Photos

Today Instagram announced a new feature that will be rolling out to all users soon: the ability to share multiple photos or videos within a single post.

Here's how it works:

When uploading to your feed, you’ll see a new icon to select multiple photos and videos. It’s easy to control exactly how your post will look. You can tap and hold to change the order, apply a filter to everything at once or edit one by one. These posts have a single caption and are square-only for now. On your profile grid, you’ll notice the first photo or video of your post has a little icon, which means there’s more to see.

As you browse your feed, a post that contains a collection of photos or videos will show a number of small dots underneath the first image, with each dot representing a photo or video you can swipe through.

This update comes with Instagram 10.9, released yesterday, but isn't yet available to all users. According to TechCrunch, it will roll out globally over the next few weeks.


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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