Instagram is notable for a number of reasons — one of which is its near-complete lack of a Web presence or a place where your Instagram pictures could live collectively on the Web, rather than through its mobile apps. But this could be changing soon. As first reported by TechCrunch, Web designer Cole Reinke discovered a new page on his Instagram profile, which may indicate that Web-based Instagram albums may arrive shortly.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder, has been vocal about keeping the mobile-first photo-sharing service mobile. As such, Instagram.com has remained stripped-down during the entirety of its existence. The only feature that exist on the platform is account settings, where users can edit their profile information, change their password or manage the applications that have been given access to your Instagram-based data.
What Reinke discovered was a “View Profile” link under his Instagram profile picture on the Instagram page. This is not normal — most users only see “Edit Profile” and “Log Out.” But when he clicked on the link he was directed to a 404 page, indicating that the link was dead or that the page could not be found.
In his Tumblr post, Reinke noticed that the existence of the link was only temporary; disappeared just hours later. “Online Instagram profiles coming soon? Clicking on the link lead me to a 404 error at my profile address,” he wrote. “When I looked to see if it was still there three hours later, it had disappeared. But before I saw the option appear, Instagram went down for a minute or two.”
Facebook is currently in the process of purchasing, which the social network giant acquired for a cool $1 billion back in April. It’s possible that Facebook could be responsible for short appearance of Instagram Web profiles.
Currently, the best way to experience Instagram on the Web is through its recommended Web-based, third party service, which include Gramfeed, Instagrid, Webstagram, or others, like Instafeed. But as with any third-party platform, there is the peril of competing with the very platform that you’re supporting, just as yFrog and Twitpic have had to grapple with Twitter and its tightening control of the third-party ecosystem.
While offering your platform in a wider variety of ways seems like a good move, Instagram has had no problem growing as a mobile-only option.
What do you think of Instagram breaking out of the mobile mold? Let us know in the comments.