Cliff Kuang at Wired has the scoop and some insight into how the app was developed, along with some sample videos that are just stunning:
Eventually the duo uploaded video of the app in action to Instagram’s internal message board, where it received the ultimate blessing: a single comment from Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom. It simply declared, “This is cool.” This, in turn, egged them on to present their project to the wider group, at the company’s first “pitch-a-thon” for new creative tools, held last January.
Of course the fact that it’s even a separate app at all begs some questions to those who debate the merits of the single-purpose app/app constellation phenomenon:
The honchos at Instagram figured some users would grok the possibilities immediately and become obsessed with it. But most would ignore it. To built it into Instagram, you’d have to hide it, to keep the core app simple for its millions of users. This would be a double bind for Hyperlapse: Power users would find it annoying to use, if they found it at all, and everyday users would simply never look for it. So they split it off into its own product. “We didn’t want to create a special use that would just be hidden,” says Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder and CTO.
Marc Andreessen (among others) has spoken of services that were at one point the exclusive province of the rich and well-connected that are now accessible to the masses. Even over the last ten years this philosophy bears itself out. Blogging platforms made everyone a writer. Social media made everyone a broadcaster. Smartphone cameras (and by extension, software like Instagram) made everyone a photographer. Will this make everyone a film producer? We’ll see.
Some Instagram users are reporting having briefly seen a banner advertisement within the Instagram application which pointed to a new app called “Bolt,” described as a “one tap photo messaging” app. Next to the app’s name and description, a download button linked out to a non-functional URL on the Google Play store.
The current speculation being shared around the web is that Bolt is a new application soon to be released by Instagram. However, it also seems likely that the Bolt leak was a test involving an expansion of Facebook’s app install ads to the company-owned Instagram platform.
Would be funny if it were the latter. I’m not sure why Facebook (through Instagram) would produce another Snapchat competitor. Is Slingshot already old news?
This is a higher number than I thought I but I think the reason it hasn’t gotten more adoption is to me, the feature kind of jives with the core nature of Instagram’s service; at least the ephemerality part. Part of what makes Instagram compelling is how you can give a photo a more professional dimension. You snap a photo, filter it, massage it, perfect it. It’s permanence makes that a desirable thing to want to do.
Snapchat’s used pretty differently. The idea behind ephemeral photo sharing is in fact the lack of permanence. It doesn’t require a lot of edits because it’s a photo that’s going to be thrown away anyway. So I’ve found, anecdotally speaking, that moments shared through SnapChat are a little more real, a little less refined and edged and massaged.
But wait, Facebook now owns Instagram, so of course they’re going to want to use their own place database, right? I guess. The issue I’m having is that for the first couple years after the deal, the database remained in the hands of Foursquare’s trusty API. Now, for whatever reason, that has changed (at least for some users). And we’re all worse off as a result.
That’s the real problem here. I get that Facebook owns Instagram and so they want to bring the geo functionality in-house as well. But the product is worse because of this change. Facebook place database is a nightmare of mislabeled and mislocated geo-barf. The data makes Apple Maps look like a pristine globe of information (more on that in a second).
Excellent post from MG. Couldn’t agree more. The phrase “cutting your nose off to spite your face” comes to mind. Although perhaps, as with Apple’s maps fiasco, there’s enough of a backlash for Instagram to go back to Foursquare’s database or at least allowing the user the option to choose between the two. Here’s hoping anyway.
“It’s so much more personal,” she said. “It’s not a Facebook or Twitter where everything seems like an advertorial. On Instagram, it feels like a discovery because you aren’t there to shop — but if something catches your eye and it’s available, you’re more likely to buy it.”
The cynic would say “wait until they figure out a monetization strategy.” Paradoxically though, this may end up being it: a minimalistic, one-click selling experience (powered by Paypal or Stripe) where Instagram makes a fee on each sale, a la Ebay or Etsy. A tiny “buy” button at the end of each item to make it look as little like an ad as possible. Would make sense.
I don’t think it’s a particularly wise move. I’m going to write more about why later.