Inkstagram, a third-party Web client for beloved iPhone photo-sharing app Instagram, has added user-created hashtag albums to its browser-based photo gallery. Instagram offers hashtags as a way of browsing photos, but Inkstagram's galleries are an original feature built on top of them. Users can create galleries for hashtags as persistent, shareable Web pages that pull in all existing Instagram photos with the correct tags. The gallery page also displays its number of views and a list of related galleries for browsing.
Carel van Apeldoorn, Inkstagram's managing director, says that 300,000 unique Instagram users - around 3% of the total - have connected their accounts to Inkstagram. The third-party service has many competitors, but hashtag galleries stand out as a compelling new way to browse photos on Instagram.
Instagram Is an Island
One of the dirty secrets about Instagram is that its website... well, let's say it leaves something to be desired. You can't go straight there; the homepage just takes you to a splash screen to download the app. There isn't so much as a photo gallery.
individual photo is like a desert island; it's a beautiful home for that one photo, but it's totally isolated from the rest of Instagram. You can't even browse the photographer's other images or follow them from the Web.The Web page for an
The Instagram app itself has all kinds of features. In fact, some say it's too complicated. But for all the iPhone app's intricacy, it still limits the boundless creativity of Instagram's community to this one little space. It's not even on Android yet. But Instagram has a small, focused team, and it has made its API available to third-party developers, letting them build all the bells and whistles that aren't essential to the life of the product.
Consequently, there are lots of third-party Instagram viewers to choose from. Some are websites meeting the basic need for a way to browse Instagram on the desktop. Others are iOS apps focused on the viewing experience, rather than the shooting and sharing part, and also providing native Instagram galleries for the iPad. All of them, fortunately, make the social features - following, liking and commenting - available from places other than the iPhone app. But the bulk of these are extensions of existing Instagram features onto other platforms. Inkstagram's albums are a new feature built on top of Instagram's basic tagging functions.
Instagram hasn't yet made its intentions clear about its own direction. It has raised some money and made some hires this year, but it hasn't revealed its long-term business angle, even as some of its competitors have. But Instagram reached 150 million photos this year. It has an active user base with lots of good will. Whatever Instagram builds on top of all this, it will answer some questions about whether monetization or a beloved product should come first.
Are you an Instagram user? Make some Inkstagram galleries and share them in the comments!