Personally, I already don’t bother to look at most of the pictures in my Twitter news feed. Now it’ll happen even less:
Late last week a scuffle broke out between two of the top social imaging services, as Instagram decreed it wanted its photos viewed on its site, not through Twitter, and so disabled the easy linking users of both services has enjoyed for a long while.
This week both companies rolled out updates — and the timing may be coincidental, but the intentions surely are not.
First, last week: Instagram disabled the code support that allowed Twitter users to embed Instagram images in their tweets that others could fully see in the Twitter newsfeed without going to the Instagram site.
“Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter,” Twitter says. “This is due to Instagram disabling its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience. So, when users click on Tweets with an Instagram link, photos appear cropped.”
Many online pundits see this as a more of a struggle between Twitter and Instagram’s new owner Facebook than an actual overt move on Instagram’s part.
On the one hand: big whoop, it’s hardly a huge inconvenience to click the photo link and have it open a new browser window in which the photo appears full size — and it’s arguably better that way than the tiny inline image Twitter shows in its newsfeed… Instagram argues just that, actually: it wants its photos to be seen on its web page where it can optimally display them.
On the other: this seems like a power grab that spites only its own users: If I take a photo and upload it to Instagram, hey, it’s still my photo, not theirs — and if I want to embed it in a tweet and have it visible on Twitter, that should be my right. Instagram’s attempt at authority will likely only have two effects: Twitter readers will see far fewer Instagram images [unless you like overly filtered shots, hardly a loss] and Twitter posters will use another image service — most likely the one from Twitter and Photobucket — instead of Instagram.
So that was last week — and this week, Twitter duplicated the feature Instagram is best known for: filters, adding eight of ’em, “ranging from black & white to vintage” [which doesn’t seem to be a long range...]
The mobile app also now sports easy tools to “edit and refine your photos… new ways to enhance the images you tweet.” The tools were developed with imaging software maker Aviary.
“Every day, millions of people come to Twitter to connect with the things they care about and find out what’s happening around the world,” the company says. “As one of the most compelling forms of self-expression, photos have long been an important part of these experiences.”
Not to be outdone, Instagram calls its latest iPhone app “the largest upgrade to our Instagram iOS camera since it was revamped just over one year ago… We’ve made significant improvements to its look and speed.”
The app has “Instagram-themed” shutter & shutter release buttons, speed and reliability improvements, as well as a new filter, Willow, “a monochrome filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border,” and an improved Tilt-Shift feature with a “completely overhauled blur algorithm” that increases quality and accuracy, the company says. “Tilt-shift now gives a vastly more realistic rendering of depth of field because of these improvements and subtle tweaks to how we render the image.”