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Monday, 7 October 2013

Instagram is 3:How Instagram took over the world in just three years


Three years ago today Instagram was launched. Its arrival in Apple's app store was accompanied by a brief note outlining the company's vision: to make mobile photographs "fast, simple and beautiful".
There was little sign that October 6 2010 marked the birth of an app that would be embraced by some of the world's most powerful people, be sold in a deal worth an estimated $1 billion and threaten to transform the nature of photography.
Today Instagram has more than 150 millions users across the globe. The app's ability to add retro chic to digital photos through filters that distort colour and create a Polaroid effect has seen it adopted by countless celebrities.
Michelle Obama has an account, as does President Bashar al-Assad. Paul McCartney has launched new music through the site and Andy Murray personally thanked fans after winning Wimbledon with an Instagram video.
So when on July 22 this year Buckingham Palace announced the birth of Prince George – the future king of England – it passed with little comment that Instagram was one of just a handful of websites used to break the good news to the world.
But how did we get here? How did the brainchild of two geeky graduates from Stanford University become a billion-dollar business worthy of the Royals?
The clues to Instagram's phenomenal success can be found in that original blog post, written as the app first went live back in the autumn of 2010.
Stated in the note are the three common criticisms of mobile phone photos which Instragram's founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger wanted to address.
The first read simply “my mobile photos look lame”. The proliferation of smartphones had put photography at the fingertips of the masses, but there were still few ways to hide the amateurism of the photographer. Instagram launched with 11 preset filters that allowed people to add retro-chic to their snaps with brightened colours or fading effects.
Next was the complaint that it is "a pain to share to all the friends I care about”. A simple solution here – Instgram was designed to easily link up with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr so photos could be posted in a second.
Finally Instagram wanted to get round the uploading problem. "Photos take forever to upload and viewing them is slow" was the way they phrased it. Hooking up mobile phones to computers or attempting to upload snaps over shoddy internet connection was a common frustration. The solution was to make each file tiny.
"The magic of fast uploads is simply that we're not uploading full resolution," Kevin Systrom would explain later. "Instead of uploading 3MB we upload 60kb. There's a huge difference in reliability when you're dealing with small data."
The inspiration for all this was old Polaroid photos. Polaroid did to traditional print photography what Instagram would do to digital cameras – allow consumers to get instant access to their pictures rather than waiting for hours or days.
For Polaroid this was done by developing a photo on the spot; for Instagram it was the ability to share a photo within seconds.
Source: Telegraph


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