Instagram branches out from the mobile world

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Following its full acquisition by the social media giant Facebook, photo editing and sharing app Instagram has recently introduced its official non-mobile profile site on the web. The new website will introduce Instagram profiles and will give users a chance to show off their photos directly on the web.

Instagram was first known as an app for mobile devices that permits its users to edit their photos and share them on Twitter, Google+, and now on Facebook. The app is solely intended for mobile use, which means up until now its users could not view other users’ information using their desktop or laptop, unlike Twitter and Facebook. Instagram’s new companion site on the web has a Facebook-like layout and Twitter-inspired features.

With Instagram’s new wider reach, users’ information can be seen by people even if they do not have Instagram accounts, unless the respective user has set his or her profile as private. Furthermore, only users who are logged in are permitted to follow other users and see and “like” their photos.

However, users are not yet allowed to upload their pictures directly onto the website from their computers. Instagram’s longtime practice of uploading photos via phone will remain intact as it does not want to compromise the core identity of the service.

This could be another breakthrough for Instagram. Enhancing its reach to a larger audience is a smart idea, but dressing it up like Facebook has led to some concern about just how much Facebook has been influencing the direction of Instagram.