DJ Patil, previously Color’s chief product officer has left Color and joined Greylock investments. Why is this significant? How bout the fact that Color, which was a huge hit in technology potential that hasn’t done well against Instagram has lost their main product guy. Color, who was recently offered 200 million to be acquired by Google, turned them down. I, still, have no idea what Color is doing. No idea whatsoever.
Out of all of the picture apps available, why do people continue to choose Instagram? I believe I have the answer.
First of all, big congratulations to Kevin Systrom, (http://bit.ly/nLgDiA), and the Instagram Team for clearing four million users with only four employees. That’s just incredible. Not to mention they did this while smacking down each of the hundreds of photo app competitors that dominate the iPhone App Store.
Here are the top 4 reasons I believe Instagram is king:
- It’s simple and easy to use. The interface and functionality give you the feeling like taking photos, manipulating them and sharing them are instinctive.
- Your photos are still your own. You dont give them to the program and have to find a way for them to give you it back. It still feels like this is an extension of your Photo’s app on your iPhone.
- The sharing ability of going to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, individual email addresses, and attaching your photo to a location (which syncs to Foursquare’s locations) is wonderful. It feels like an open system. As the user you can use Instagram as a router to different programs you use on the web. The funny thing is that while you can share to other programs, you still end up spending a majority of your time inside the native application of Instagram on your phone.
- Twitter integration again! I’ll speak for myself when I say this but I love the Twitter integration. I can post a photo to twitter and in the caption of the photo use “hash tags” or “@names” to communicate on Twitter. That is my favorite feature. It feels like Instagram helps me communicate better on other systems
I got the iPhone app program Path to try out and the end result is I dont really use it that much (although I have close to 30 posts in almost a year on the program). They take a different approach in thinking that people only have 50 close friends in their life that they want to communicate with and everyone else doesn’t matter. I can understand the idea but many times you have the desire to just share what you have to the world. You may not always be purposefully trying to share but if you are in Instagram and someone you dont know “Likes” your photo or begins to follow you, you get a sense of enjoyment over the fact that someone else liked what you had to share. With Path, that sharing is confined to the people you choose. Likewise there is no Twitter integration or other services. Why would they have connections? Path wants you to be inside their system and communicate there. I’m not certain if you can even get your photos once they have been uploaded inside Path. It makes sense to me that it has a niche of fans. Could they be celebrities that want to get away from their fans?
Color, in my opinion, has a great concept but falls short on execution. Think about when you are out with your friends and you take photos with your camera and they take photos with their camera. Then after everything is taken, you ask them to email you the photos they took of the evening. That’s where Color comes in. If you use their program, then while you and your friend are taking pictures then your photos go to a collective album of the night where you both end up sharing the moment together and can access each others pictures in the end. Sounds great, right? However, a few things are taken away from you. You can not manipulate the photos and you dont own the photos any more. You can access them from your site to view or you can bring people back to color to view the site. Back to the sharing thing. Color wants photos to exist in their ecosystem only and doesn’t really want to share with others like Instagram does. I dont feel like they are my photos anymore. As a result, I dont use Color.
The overwhelming desire to share, to have a sense that you own the photos and can post them, Twitter-like, for the world to see is a huge advantage of Instagram. Right now, the popularity of the program emphasizes that when people take photos they want simplicity, ownership and sharing control. That’s why I believe Instagram is king of the photo app space.