Instagram has won not just the adoration of many in the tech media, but has netted well over 100,000 users. And according to co-founder Kevin Systrom, Instagram is now counting new user sign-ups by the minute and counting photo uploads by the second.I have a new favorite iPhone app. And I'm not alone. After only a week in the iPhone App Store, the photo-sharing app
Instagram is a free app, a simple photo-sharing tool that allows you to snap pictures and easily post them to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts. You can follow others via Instagram's social network, allowing you to view and comment on others' photos. Instagram also includes 11 filters for your photos, turning the photos taken by the camera phone - photos that even under the steadiest of hands and keenest of eyes tend to be rather mediocre - from the mundane to the spectacular.
The improvements to the camera on the iPhone 4 have spurred a lot of new photography apps. So Instagram has benefited from being, in the words of Systrom, in the "right place at the right time." And I'd add to that, particularly with the crowded field, from having a simple but stellar product.
Systrom says that Instagram aims to tackle three areas that other photo apps and sharing sites haven't quite nailed: high quality photos, an easy sharing process, and speedy uploads. And while the first part certainly makes for eye-catching photography - Instagram's filters seem to give the most banal shots a new depth and mood - the latter two shouldn't be discounted.
As Systrom noted in an interview today, the overwhelming response to the app has put some strain on the servers. And, he noted, during the brief times when the service has dropped and people have been unable to share, new registrations have gone done. Clearly, part of what's attractive to users is that they can take photos, adjust them with the filters, and share them not just with other Instagram users but to other social networking sites - all within the app, and all within a matter of seconds.
Instagram is a two-person team, Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger, who pivoted to this app from Burbn, a location-based service, that raised $500,000 from Andreessen Horowitz and Baseline Ventures. Instagram is a great example of doing one thing simply and doing it well, and although Systrom says there are plans to improve the app, the emphasis for the time being is on maintaining the stability of the service, as the viral download rate and adoption of Instagram have not just exceeded the team's initial expectations but server size as well.