Instagram is a brilliant free application for iOS which has gained a following of over 7 million users since its release. It lets you take photos on your iPhone or iPod and share them to either the "Instagram Social Network" or to Facebook and Twitter. Viewing your photos on iOS device is simple enough because of the built in support of Instagram, however, there is no official application from Instagram that lets you view the photos on your Mac. This has led way to the production of such Mac Applications as Carousel and Instadesk. Instaview is the newest of these small niche of Mac Apps and aims to bring Instagram to your Mac with a great new native application.
Setting Up Your Account
Upon loading the application, you will be required to enter your Instagram account details, which include your email and password. This is so Instaview can show you the correct feeds and sync your account correctly. Thats it for the setup really, no extra information needed, so with that out the way we can jump straight into the app.
Viewing Photo Streams
After you have logged in, you will see the most recent picture from your photo stream. It may not be very obvious what you need to do next. However if you hover over the current picture, options will pop into view which allow you to click on "Slideshow" to start a scrolling stream of your images, as well as navigation arrows which allow you to browse through the photos at your own speed. (You can change the slideshow speed if you want in the Stream menu). Its not just your feed you can view, there is the ability to create a brand new frame and stick a new feed in there, creating a new window for a whole new set of images. Just click on a username, then "view", and a new frame will appear with that photo stream inside it. You can have photo streams including:
- Your Feed (Photos of those you are following)
- Any User's Photos
- Photos you've liked
- Popular Photos
- Location based photos (i.e. Paris, New York, etc.)
- Photos tagged with a hashtag (i.e. #beach)
All with their own window and frame design (we will look at the frame design a little later).
The Social Network
A large part to play in the success of Instagram is the integrated community which allows users to view, comment, and like (heart) their friends photos. Instaview has brought this feature to the Mac, and allows you to follow friends and other users directly from the Instaview window.
There is the ability to view several photo streams at once when using Instaview. Mabye you want the popular photos on a timed slideshow in the corner, whilst you comment and browse through you friends photos in another frame. There are also different styles of frame, for which you can apply to any window, creating your own layout of customized frames and streams. Five of these frames include (from left to right), Black Outline, Matted Black Outline, Corkboard, Metal Stand and a Thin Wood Frame, all of which can add a unique feel to any photo.
Although there are already two other established applications that bring Instagram to the Mac, Intsaview provides a new method of viewing your photos to the table. Priced at $7.99, slightly more expensive than both Carousel and Instadesk, it makes for a hard decision when choosing which application to get. If the features that we looked at were maybe more obvious when using Instaview, it would be a great solution to a problem that definitely exists. As it stands, each app has its perks and falls, but its really up to your preference which one to choose, as all three essentially do the same job, but each with a slightly different look and feel. Having said that, Instaview provides a great looking interface and its widgetized feel makes for a great viewing experience.