Jazz up your photos with Instagram iPhone app

Instagram is a bit of a halfway app. By that, I mean it shares elements of social networking web sites, notably the ability to add friends and have a news feed, but it also puts an emphasis on photo editing.

So rather than just being a social-networking-based app to dump all your photos in, the app takes a bit more of an artistic bent, and lets users apply some cool filters to their photos before they upload.

While it handles both aspects of its dual personality well, Instagram isn’t great at either of them. It fails somewhat as a social-networking app because, aside from your friends’ photos, you won’t be able to see any other photos. That is, aside from the odd popular photos tab on the app. While I assume all it takes to get a popular photo is to have a lot of people comment on it, these photos are somehow available to everyone, whereas you’re still unable to just search for photos on your own.

This seems counter-productive. The app can’t decide if it wants to be exclusionary or not. The photo filters are not too shabby. There are plenty of color effects to make your photos look vintage, or darker or lighter than they are, but there’s nothing outrageously innovative about them.

I admire Instagram for trying to provide a bit more social interaction on top of the usual “handful of filters” free photo apps available, but I think it needs to pick which side of the social-networking fence it’s on. If you want to make this thing friends-only, do it, otherwise open it up so users can really share their photos.

Latest from NewsReports