Instagram Launches With The Hope Of Igniting Communication Through Images

I think that communicating via images is one of these mediums that you’re going to see take off over the next few years because of a fundamental shift in the enabling technology.

If you need one line summarizing why Kevin Systrom built Instagram, that’s it.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a long preview of the photo sharing app. Today, it is officially launching in the App Store.

I know what you’re probably thinking: oh, another photo-sharing app. But the fact is that at least one of these apps is likely going to take off in a major way at some point soon. To some extent, Hipstamatic already has, but one of these is likely to get even bigger. “There’s no Flickr for mobile yet,” is how Systrom puts it.

He continues, “What do I mean by that? A community, focused on helping you collect, organize, and share the images of your life from your mobile phone. The best we have right now are tiny camera icons stuffed as forgotten features of giant complicated apps that *have* to do everything.” Obviously, he wants Instagram to provide that missing community.

And it’s a good point. The iPhone 4 is now my primary camera. Is it as good as a DSLR? Of course not. Is it as good as my point-and-shoot? No, but it’s getting pretty close. And the convenience of always having it in my pocket trumps what it lacks in quality. The pictures taken with it are very good. And with effects and filters like Instagram offers, I get many more compliments on my photography than I ever have before. It makes my life on the go interesting.

And that’s part of the key to Instagram. Systrom says he’s looked at all the top photo apps in the App Store and all of them stood out in that they’re not “plain old photo-sharing apps.” “You have to do something special,” he says. “Photo sharing as a concept is relatively uninteresting as a sell. But processors are so fast now that we can do really cool things to your photos with the tap of a button. We can take that beautiful 5MP camera and turn it into a panoramic camera or a lofi 1980’s Polaroid.,” he continues.

And Systrom knows that one key in his app being successful is how actual users are using it. So far, he’s thrilled that a couple handfuls of the web’s best designers have taken a liking to Instagram while it has been in private beta. Once it opens up today, he hopes even more like-minded people will.

You can find Instagram in the App Store here. It’s a free download.