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Happy Birthday Instagram! Here are 10 Things that Instagram has done in the past year

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Instagram's original logo closely resembled the retro camera that its filters mimic.

Happy Birthday Instagram! Yesterday, the photo sharing social network for your smartphone celebrated three years in the App Store. In the past year, Instagram has brought us some great moments in smartphone photography.

Here are a few things that Instagram did in the last year:

1. Moved us with Insta-video

Perhaps the biggest thing to happen to mobile photography in the past year wasn't photography at all. Video made a huge splash when Twitter released Vine for the iPhone. Not long after that, Instagram updated to allow video.

2. Redefined mobile branding and promotions for companies (without ads)

Last Novemeber, Bergdorf Goodman used Instagram photos to create an interactive map on its website.

Looking back, Instagram's third year may be known as the year post-Facebook but pre-ads. Unable to outright buy exposure from Instagram, companies have taken to viral marketing to lure customers into "liking" their brand. The result has been some creative ad campaigns as corporations encourage active user participation. 

3. Opened a dialog on photographer's rights

Instagram's straight talk in its Terms of Service prompted a conversation about mobile photographer's rights that ended in some photographers to leave the social network.

Whether you thought Instagram's Terms of Service scandal was overblown or you thought it was reason enough to delete your account, the conversation started in December was great news for smartphone photographers. The chaos that ensued after Instagram announced that it had the right to profit off of user images was enough for some of the app's most prominent users to quit in protest. The result was a flurry of media attention on photographer's rights in mobile photography—great news for photography professionals and hobbyists alike as apps reinforced their protection for content creators. 

4. Introduced us to a our favorite animal friends

If there is one thing that Instagram users love more than gratuitous selfies, it's pet photos. In the past year, we have found some fantastic furry friends in Instagram. These critters stole our feeds and our hearts. 

5. Let us look inside North Korea

In March, Instagram gave us a candid look inside a notoriously secretive country when photojournalists Jean Lee (@newsjean) and David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder) started posting photos from Pyongyang, North Korea. After North Korea started allowing foreigners to freely use a 3G mobile network from inside its borders, the Associated Press photographers could share their smartphone photos on Instagram, revealing fascinating observations. 

6. Took us to the White House

Official White House photographer Pete Souza finally jumped on the Insta-wagon in August, giving his followers a peek inside the presidential life of Barack Obama. While Souza's Flickr photos are exceedingly official, the photos he shares on Instagram are much more intimate. From action shots of dogs playing with toys to airplane wing photos, following Souza is like following any friend in Instagram—if your friends happen to hang out with the President of the United States.

7. Fought with Twitter (and Vine, too!)

Why can't we all just get along? In December, Instagram pulled its photo viewing from Twitter, forcing users to open photos on the Instagram website instead of viewing it inside a tweet. This move came just weeks after Twitter introduced its own photo filters, definitely stepped in Instagram's territory.  After Twitter introduced Vine, Instagram fought back with its own video integration. As each company continues to step up its game, there is one clear winner—the users themselves.

8. Inspired a photo war between professionals

While Instagram is busy battling Twitter, its users have started fighting amongst themselves. Professional photojournalists Eric Thayer (@ericthayer) and Joshua Lott (@joshualott) challenged each other to an Insta-dual, prompting a shoot out that we hope never ends.

9. Went online, introduced a web embed feature.

Instagram's web profiles provided a non-mobile viewing platform for its 150 million users.

One of the better things that has come to Instagram since the Facebook buy out is the web user profiles and photo embed feature. The web profiles gave users an easy way to view their photos on a big screen while the embedding tool allowed bloggers to share their favorite Instagram while giving the photographers the credit (and likes) they deserve.

10. Didn't release a Windows Phone 8 app

Third party app 6tag is the closest thing that Windows Phone 8 users can get to Instagram on their phones.

It's October 7th, 2013. Instagram still doesn't have an official Windows Phone 8 app. Maybe by the time it turns 4, Instagram will let one of the best smartphone cameras on the market upload photos officially. Until then, Windows Phone 8 users can use 6tag or Oggl to share photos on Instagram and hope that Instagram doesn't remove them again.

Comments

Total comments: 7
KariIceland
By KariIceland (11 months ago)

Aka: Instagram did NOTHING NEW! ALL This existed BEFORE instagram, this is like claiming "facebook connected the world with each other on a website" no i believe its called craigslist, myspace, live journal & the BILLION pages before it.

1 upvote
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (11 months ago)

Seeing the comments here, I feel like you forgot #11, Lauren:

- Prove how disconnected "Connect" is from its user base.

1 upvote
Rambalac
By Rambalac (11 months ago)

Funny but my photos without any fancy filters are more popular than any with

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (11 months ago)

The biggest should have been insta-crap photos. Those lousy filters are completely unnecessary and a photo with great composition will be a great photo. No need to hide those mediocre IQ of iPhones and other phones. And FWIW, a photo should not be square in aspect ratio all the time.

3 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (11 months ago)

Square photos do not require composition.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (11 months ago)

There's crappy and there's crappy. The point of the instagram crappiness is that it ages and gives a sense of atmosphere and nostaligic history to the pic. A straight pic is often just too boring.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (11 months ago)

Still don't see the point of it though.

1 upvote
Total comments: 7
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