Yesterday Instagram announced that as of January 16, 2013, it would have the perpetual right to sell its users photos without notification or compensation. I’m sorry, Instagram, but you’re doing what now? That is beyond the realm of not cool. CNET has a great write-up where you can learn more about the statement made by Instagram and what exactly is contained in their new intellectual property policy.
Prior to yesterday I would have named Instagram as not only my favorite photo-sharing app, but perhaps even my favorite social media app. Today, I have deleted my account. Maybe that’s an overreaction. I’m fairly certain that with the public outcry that’s going on right now Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will back-peddle on this one. Much like Facebook did after the outcry that followed its own announcement back in 2009 that all user content would belong to them. But overreaction or not, I’m done with Instagram. Why? One word: competition.
Back when Facebook pulled this the first time, users didn’t have a comparable lifeboat to land in if they decided to jump ship. MySpace had already dwindled into its sad and forgotten state, and Google+ wasn’t a viable option yet. The same is not true of the current photo-sharing world. Unlike Facebook, Instagram has some pretty serious competitors.
First and foremost is Flickr. For a while we were all starting to think that Flickr may have been going the way of MySpace, but last week they proved us wrong. They released a new version of their photo sharing app that is, in a word, AWESOME. Not only can you crop, format, apply filters to, and share your photos much like you can in Instagram, but Flickr also gives you stats on each of your photos, storage on the Flickr website, and the ability to share with numerous groups. Their photo editor even allows you to whiten teeth and remove blemishes! Bonus: Flickr still plays nice with Twitter so you can share there too, much like you can’t do with Instagram anymore.
Speaking of Twitter, they also had a recent update that added photo sharing and filters to their list of features. While the photo functionality is not quite what is offered by Flickr or Instagram, it does offer cropping, an automatic enhancement button, and 8 filters. The one negative with this app is the sharing. You can immediately share on Twitter, which is to be expected, but if you want to share anywhere else you need to grab the image link and manually share it. It will not push out to other services.
The next three apps are more vehicles to help you share photos on existing networks than separate networks of their own. Which basically means they’re lacking the social area where you can view, like, and comment on other users’ photos and share your own within the app. All sharing is through other social networks.
The newest of these is Snapseed, which was recently acquired by Google and can be tied in to your Google+ account. This one seems a little more advanced than some of the others which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. It allows you to do a lot more editing of your photos and offers a ton of different frame and filter options. Plus the one option that I always wished Instagram would allow: any frame can be combined with any filter, so you’re not stuck with the preset options. It may take a little getting used to but it’s definitely worth playing with.
Another really robust and powerful photo sharing app is Camera+. This one has been around for a while now and offers a ton of options for really making your photos look their best. You can apply different scenes allowing you to adjust the clarity of your photo, add a flash after the fact, etc. You can also adjust the rotation of your image, crop, add filters, add borders, and add captions. Of the apps I’ve been playing with this morning, this is definitely the most powerful.
Last but not least is Pixlromatic. This app will allow you to crop your photos, but only into a preselected square, hence my cheek getting cut off in the photo on the right. I couldn’t reposition the photo for the crop. It offers a multitude of filter options, almost too many really. I never even got to the end of the filter list before picking one because there were just so many to scroll through! Also tons of frame options that are divided into black and white. Pixlromatic’s unique feature is the extra lighting options it gives you. You can add flares, glitter, rainbows, bubbles, and lots of other things on top of your photos. While not appropriate for all pictures, it can create some pretty neat effects on the right image.
So fear not, fellow-photo-sharers! Instagram has been on top for quite a while, but there are plenty more apps waiting in the wings to take its place. And hopefully those apps will learn from Instagram’s mistake and realize that you can’t announce the intent to steal your users’ content without producing a fairly major backlash.
I mentioned five services in this post, but there are plenty more. Is there one you think I should have included? Let us know about your favorite photo sharing app in the comments!