PicPlz Beats Instagram To An API

In the battle among the new crop of social photo apps, winning over the hearts if consumers is only one part of the equation. Winning over the minds of developers is the other part. While Instagram is far and away the early leader in terms of users, rival PicPlz was able to come out first with an API today. PicPlz’s API will allow developers to pull photo feeds from its service, and create things like slideshows and other widgets from its growing library of shared photos. It will also allow developers to upload images and take advantage of PicPlz’s photo filters. Meaning any photo app can now add a one of PicPlz’s filters as a feature.

Instagram is also working on an API, which is supposed to be coming out any day now. Already, it had to block one service called Followgram that couldn’t wait and was scrubbing the service for interesting photos. CEO Kevin Systrom tells me that beta signups will open up later today (check out this Founder Stories video where he talks about how he views the competition). They will still have to wait for the actual API to become available. Meanwhile, developers can start playing with PicPlz’s API.

Giving developers tools to build engaging new apps on top of PicPlz is the first step from consumer app to platform. But those two things go hand-in-hand. Developers want to work on popular platforms. PicPlz also announced a new feature that will appeal to power users: the ability to apply Creative Commons licenses to your photos. Embracing Creative Commons was a factor in Flickr’s early success, and it could certainly encourage more sharing in these new mobile socia apps.

Finally, PicPlz is adding an analytics dashboard for brands, celebs, and musicians to track which pics get the most views, likes or comments. The company could end up charging brands for the dashboard if it proves useful enough, or maybe open it up to all users.

Update: Systrom has just invited developers to sign up for the Instagram API.