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Instagram Web profiles are here, and – surprise – they look a lot like Facebook

Kiss all those third-party Web apps you’ve been using to follow your friend’s Instagram activities goodbye! Instagram has just announced that Web profiles are officially here, and the site will begin rolling out the new feature over the next few days. 

The URL for your Web profile will be kept short and simple — Instagram.com/Username. (At this moment, attempting to log onto my personal profile links me to Instagram’s Web Profiles announcement page, but this should change shortly). Judging by the sample profiles Instagram provided, the design looks a lot like Facebook’s Timeline layout. Which isn’t terribly surprising, of course, since the social network bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion earlier this year.

The new Instagram Web profiles will feature a rotating stream of photos where your “Cover Photo” would ordinarily be on Facebook. The “Wall” also orders your photos by months, and hovering over each photo gives you an exact upload date and the number of likes and comments. Clicking the photos bring up a lightbox of the selected picture, which looks just like what direct links to Instagram pictures were like if you had the obscure URL for them. If your photos are set as “Private,” only logged-in users with approved friend requests will be able to see them.

Web profiles have long been on Instagram users’ list of demands, since you were unable to obtain the direct URL of your photo without sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, email, or text. With Web profiles, Instagrammers can follow new users, explore trendy pictures, like, and comment straight from their browsers. This will undoubtedly make Instagram a bigger brand promotion platform than ever, allowing companies like Nike to monetize on sharing product photos and making an overall beautiful presentation of the brand.

However, there is one thing still missing from Web profiles: You won’t be able to upload a photo directly from your computer and apply the filters just yet, which would be a huge departure from the mobile-only (now, mobile-first) network. Still, something tells us that the development of a real, interactive website along with its Facebook acquisition may just bring the functionality to us in the very near future.

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