I’m surprised this has been implemented the way it has. I guess you want to keep a product with momentum kicking along and not forcing it to fight with one arm behind its back. However, I would have assumed that as Facebook wishes to make itself the place for online identities, it would have used Facebook profiles for photo identities rather than Instagram profiles. It would have not only made it easier to tag people (as people would more than likely be using their real names rather than Twitteresque handles) but it also would allow people to tune their security settings rather than relying on Instagram’s on/off option.
Photos are memories of the people, places and moments that mean the most to us. We have always sought to give you simple and expressive ways to bring the stories behind your photos to life. Your captions and hashtags capture the “what?” and your Photo Map answers the “where?” but until today we’ve never quite been able to answer the “who?”.
Today, we’re excited to introduce Photos of You and bring you a new way to share and discover stories on Instagram. When you upload a photo to Instagram, you’re now able to add people as easily as you add hashtags. Only you can add people to your photos, so you have control over the images you share. And it doesn’t stop at people—you can add any account on Instagram, whether it’s your best friend, favorite coffee shop or even that adorable dog you follow.
There will now be a Photos of You section on your profile. When someone adds you to a photo, you’ll receive a notification and the photo will appear in your Photos of You. Want to make sure you like the photo first? No problem: you can easily adjust your settings so nothing appears on your profile until you approve it. Before your Photos of You section is visible to other people, you’ll have until May 16th to play around and get used to the feature. You can find more information about how Photos of You works and how to control your visibility at help.instagram.com.
Instagram for iOS version 3.5 is currently available for download in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 3.5 is now available on Google Play.
I can’t help but feel that twelve months from now we’ll look back at Home and wonder what happened to it. I could very easily be proven wrong as I feel this step will be either fully embraced or completely discarded, but I think the discarded option is looking more likely.
The question is do people really want to be fully immersed in social? I’m not so sure. I’m sure there are small demographics who do, those who are probably under the age of 25 perhaps, but from there on out there is more to a smartphone than social.
The biggest problem I see with Home is the pain factor the second you want to do anything different. Sure you can get to other apps, but it requires extra steps and because you use your smartphone so often, those extra steps really add up. Want to make a normal phone call? You’ll have to go digging. Want to use Instagram? You’ll need to go digging. Want to use a new widget to keep an eye on breaking events? You can’t do that.
No doubt Facebook will continue to evolve and improve the launcher, but at what point does it become so built out that it resembles the standard OS anyway? A Facebook compose widget on top of the home screen with a lock screen widget could roughly give you the same capabilities without the pain factor of being locked to Facebook’s world.
But hey, maybe I’m too old to understand this stuff.
I’ve been toying with the idea of switching back to iOS in times of recent and realise that most of the reviews I’ve ever read always try to steer you in the direction of which won wins. The sort of drivelling rubbish that is trying to make the choice bigger than it is or convince themselves the choice they have made is for the best.
My smartphone days started back in a simpler time of the Sony Ericsson M600i, made famous by the Bond movie Casino Royale. Running Symbian, it had a stylus and was great at reading emails and WAP web sites. It was more of a phone than anything else. It was roughly the same size as the iPhone 4 but without the heft. Compared to some of the Windows Phones of the time, it was simpler, but that made it better. It wasn’t a PDA pretending to be a phone, it was a phone pretending to be a PDA, and for the most part it was all I needed.
So on the day the Wall Street Journal have an article about Google becoming worried Samsung is becoming too big a player in the Android ecosystem, this news drops about them partnering with VISA for NFC payments. It’s hard to blame them when Google Wallet seems to have been stuck in obscurity for so long, but I can’t help but feeling this will cause a whole host of new problems for both Android and Google.
Twitter on the Android platform has never been the most refined of tools. The most notable issue was when the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android was first released. Scrolling in the app was an awful experience, it was slow and unresponsive. Of course, this is understandable for such a major new release, except it seemed to take weeks if not months for them to solve. To their credit, they eventually got it right, but it is frustrating no other refinements have really been made since. All updates on the Android system seem to function around new features, and while everyone likes a new novelty, it’s the core experience that is more important. Below is a wishlist of key improvements:
1. Fix image previews. I’m constantly having to click the image preview because it has failed to load the image. It seems specific to larger images and I know Twitter has taken uploaded image in-house recently, but it is annoying none the less and has been like this for quite some time now.
2. The back button regularly takes you out of the app when clicked once. It doesn’t seem to happen every time, but more often than I’d care for clicking the back button takes you back to your home screen. The problem seems to happen when you’ve received a notification which you’ve clicked on opening the tweet. You leave the app, come back to it later, click back to get to your timeline and bang, you are back on your home screen. Frustrating, as you then need to relaunch the app.
This is a step in the wrong direction for everyone. The Twittercard system has really made the mobile experience a lot more fluid so this may go so far as to stop people clicking through. I know I’ll have second thoughts about whether I can be bothered getting kicked out to the Instagram app to view a photo from my favourite band or random person I follow. For friends this won’t have such a great effect as I likely already follow them on Instagram anyway.
The question is what do Instagram really have to gain here? They were a great piece of a puzzle and now it seems some of the pieces are missing. They have already cemented their position as the place to go for visual breaking events like storms and unrest. Twitter only piggy back off that and really they would always struggle to compete on a pure photo level due to the network’s other abilities (expressing written opinions and linkings to articles etc). This will probably drive your photo like count up, but it is hard to become ecstatic over such things. I’m guessing the hope is that this will drive their own internal social network rather than being reliant on other’s.
Ultimately I think people who have joined Instagram on it’s own merits won’t be effected or care. They’ll continue to snap away without sharing externally. For Twitter users, it remains to be seen, but I’m with Sarah on this one, I think usage may drop off. Whether Instagram cares or not remains to be seen. But, if they suddenly find themselves as just another social image network and lose breaking events to Twitter, Instagram will surely lose some of it’s shine.