The wildly successful camera app Instagram has just received a new update that will incorporate location-based tags. The function, known as Photo Mapping, has rolled out to both Android and iOS-based iterations of the app.
Instagram 3.0 is getting in on the geolocation features that have flourished in other social media apps, such as Facebook and Foursquare. The newly unveiled Instagram 3.0 hasn't received any new filters, but the update does allow users to essentially create a map of photos.
"With every dot oh release we've tried to shift our focus dramatically," Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told Tech Crunch. "Instagram 2.0, with its new filters, etc., was all about the user's production experience. Instagram 3.0 is about a new kind of browser experience, Photo Maps."
Instagram currently has more than 80 million registered users, and its 3.0 upgrade can be seen as its answer to Facebook's Timeline overhaul. As Alexia Tsotsis of Tech Crunch acknowledges, the Photo Map functionality provides some narrative to the photos that users upload.
Instagram is still a young app, and therefore has room to grow and evolve within the next couple of years. The Photo Map feature is just one example of how social media entities are evolving to adapt to a constantly changing digital climate. It may be safe to say that Instagram 3.0 won't be the last update to the Facebook-owned photography app, and here are some features that could further improve the user experience in future iterations.
1. Eliminate forced square cropping. Instagram allows users to be pretty creative with their photos, offering the option to various borders and filters. However, there have been complaints about the limited cropping options. A survey on Amplicate, which is a website that collects consumer opinions posted on social media, found that 25 percent of users out of more than 126,000 dislike the app. One of the most recent complaints highlighted the forced square cropping feature. Although this may be a trivial function to some, adding more cropping choices would allow users even more creativity in their posts.
2. More Android-centric UI features. As of April, Instagram become non-exclusive to iOS and made its way to Android users. But for some, Instagram still felt like an app that was fit for Apple devices. "I was very disappointed because the app didn't follow the major Android standard guidelines," Android developer Giovanni Vatieri told Startup Grind. For example, the tabs are located on the bottom of the screen rather than the top and some of the Android navigation patterns are "broken." Designer Guenther Beyer created a concept design that features a more Android-centric user interface.
3. Better search function. Like many other social apps, Instagram allows you to find your Facebook friends through a search function. However, Instagram lacks a function that allows users to easily find certain content quickly through a search. Implementing a search engine where Instagram surfers could just type a friend's tag, their Facebook name, or any other related keywords could make the app that much better for users.
4. A self-timer. A self-timer function is a feature that could be useful for any photography app, and would give Instagram users that much more freedom with their snapshots.
5. Video capability. Instagram is a photography app, but adding a motion picture element to it could enhance the experience for some users. Incorporating similar filter and features to video could be an interesting addition for Instagram, as Systrom told CNN in June that the app will "evolve in really interesting ways" over the years.
It will be interesting to see where Systrom goes with Instagram in the future, but adding the Photo Map function only enhances its identity as not just a photography app but a social media entity as well. Adding too much to Instagram could compromise its identity and make it too similar to sites such as Facebook, but some of the above tweaks could be useful.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...