Instagram has always remained focused on being a mobile service. It’s desktop presence is lacking with no official apps for either Windows or Mac, and a web presence that lets you do little more than managing your profile and the apps that can access your Instagram feed. All that’s changed, with Instagram rolling out user web profiles. These profiles are somewhat similar to the Facebook profile view, and allow you to view all images uploaded by a user in your web browser. Images can be commented on (if you’re signed in to Instagram), and you can delete comments from under your own images. As yet, the web interface is quite passive; it does not allow you to manage your followers or follow other users. For the user, there is little to do on the new profile pages that cannot already be done from Instagram’s mobile app or one of the many third party apps available for your desktop. However, it is a great way for non-users to get acquainted with the network.
To view your profile, enter instagram.com/yourusername in your browser’s address bar. You can enter someone else’s user name as well and explore their feed. As mentioned earlier, if you’re signed in to Instagram, you will be able to comment on and like other users’ pictures, and delete comments from under your own.
The new Instagram profiles feature a Facebook-like Timeline cover photo with a slight twist. The cover is a live collage of your latest Instagram photos, where each photo in the collage routinely fades to reveal another. The cover is generated automatically and there is, as yet, no way to customize what appears on it.
It is slightly odd that if you’ve signed in to Instagram, there is no way for you to quickly jump to your own profile page. You end up typing your user name after Instagram’s URL like anyone else. This is perhaps the biggest indication that Instagram still isn’t that interested in giving the full experience on web browsers. At the very least, lets hope they decide to roll out something for managing followers and who you’re following.
The profiles being reminiscent of Facebook (with a touch of Pinterest) might be an indication towards Facebook’s future plans for the photo-sharing network. Moving a passive version of Instagram to the web might be the first step in a series of improvements that might finally lead to its integration with Facebook itself.
Note that you might not have received your own web profile yet. Give it some time as they are still being rolled out.
Update: The instagram web interface now lets you browse your Instagram feed as well. Uploading is still not supported.