Instagram Stories adds no-frills photo-only posting from mobile web

Instagram really wants the developing world on Stories.

They won’t be able to use Instagram’s augmented reality masks or share videos, but starting today mobile web users can post to Instagram Stories. Previously, mobile web users could only view Stories, which have to be created in Instagram’s native apps. But now users can snap photos, overlay text captions, and share them with friends from mobile web, as well as Save posts they find in the feed and want to revisit later.

Coming to everyone in the next few weeks, users will see a camera icon in the top left corner they can tap to shoot or upload a photo for their Story. Captions in different colors can then be laid on top. But videos and the rest of Instagram’s creative tools like doodling, stickers, location tags, polls, and more are still just in the native apps. Instagram tells me it plans to keep improving the creative tool offering on mobile web but it has nothing more to share right now.

Meanwhile, tapping the bookmark icon on feed posts sends them to the Saved folder that’s accessible from the top right of the screen. No word on whether posting will come to desktop web, but it might be awkward posting vertical portrait images from a landscape computer screen.

The mobile web features could give Instagram Stories a boost in the developing world, where some users don’t have new enough phones or cheap enough data to download native apps. That’s a region where competitor and Stories originator Snapchat has struggled but is finally focusing on. If Instagram can get its Stories institutionalized worldwide before Snapchat gets there, it could lock in a long-standing audience.