The online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking Instagram, enables its users to take pictures and videos, and further share them on a variety of social networking platforms. Similar to Polaroid images, the original feature was that it confined photos to a square shape, differing from the 4:3 aspect ratio normally used by mobile device cameras.
Created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram was launched in October 2010 as a free mobile appication. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of 2012 and over 300 million as of 2014. Instagram is distributed through various application downloading platforms such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone Store. Third-party Instagram apps are also available for Blackberry 10 and Nokia-Symbian Devices.
For approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock, Instagram was officially acquired by Facebook in 2012.
In August 2015, version 7.5 was released, allowing users to post photos captured in any aspect ratio. Users can also apply filters to their images such as the following: Normal, 1977, Amaro, Brannan, Earlybird, Hefe, Hudson, Inkwell, Kelvin, Lo-fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Rise, Sierra, Sutro, Toaster, Valencia, Walden, Willow, X-Pro II, Slumber, Cream, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua. Alongside being able to post photos, users are also able to post videos with the maximum duration of 15 seconds. Additional features within the application include an option called “Lux”. With Lux, users are able to quickly adjust the exposure and contrast through a simple 100-point slider. Alongside exposure and contrast options, users are also able to control the brightness to the saturation levels of each photograph.
Accompanying the app’s popularity, Instagram has won various awards including being the runner-up for “Best Mobile App” at the 2010 TechCrunch Crunchies in January 2011 being named #1 by Mashable on its list of “The 100 best iPhone apps of all time,” noting Instagram as “one of the most influential social networks in the world.”