Instagram brings image feed to the web

Instagram has launched its image feed to the web, allowing users to scroll through users’ photos on their web browsers, the Facebook-owned company announced on its blog.

Users no longer have to use dedicated mobile apps to browse through the content their friends and connections share.  The desktop feed lets users like and comment on images, but does not support uploading pictures on desktop. The feed is also optimized for mobile device users that may not already have a dedicated native app.

This enables Instagram users to spend more time on the photo-sharing service even when they can’t be on their phones. It also makes aspects of the service accessible to more users, not just people with iOS and Android devices. The desktop feed also makes it easier to share links to specific images.

The introduction of new feed also addresses an issue that came about when Instagram began preventing images from appearing on Twitter. Now, instead of only browsing through friends’ Twitter feeds to be linked back to Instagram, users can simply browse Instagram through the desktop feed.

Prior to this announcement, there have been third party applications that brought users’ Instagram feeds to desktop, but this is the first instance of an Instagram-built desktop feed. Despite being mobile-only for a long time, Instagram has slowly been shifting toward desktop with the introduction of web profiles last November. The resources from being owned by Facebook help make this possible. Interestingly, the mobile-based service has been making the transition to the web, just as Facebook is transitioning many of its desktop features to mobile experiences. For these networks, ubiquity is key.

In his announcement of the feature, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said:

We believe that you should be able to access Instagram on a variety of different devices, any of which may be convenient to you at a given moment – including your desktop computer or tablet. We do not offer the ability to upload from the web as Instagram is about producing photos on the go, in the real world, in realtime.