I first started using Instagram in November 2010, and it's one of my favorite photo apps. The fact that it's on my iPhone home screen is a testament to it's draw. The clever filters designed to make photos look old-timey draw the ire of many photographers, but people love'em.
One of the overlooked qualities that set Instagram apart from other photo sharing sites like Flickr was that it was a mobile-only site. You could only upload photos from the app on your iPhone or Android smart phone, and you could only view and browse photos from others through that same app. There was no web-based interface at all.
That changed over time, and third-party developers like Statigram and Webstagram filled the gap, building web sites that used the Instagram API to let you browse photos and even like or comment on them.
Instagram has finally relented, introducing the Instagram Web Profile. This gives you an official web interface to Instagram photos, letting you browse, sign-in, like and comment on photos all from your web browser.
You can get to the web profile for any Instagram user by browsing to http://instagram.com/[username]. For example, http://instagram.com/jeffhester will bring up my profile.
When you click on an individual image, it opens the full-size image in a light box. If you've signed in, you'll see options to like or comment on the photo.
You may notice that these new Instagram Web Profiles bear a striking similarity in layout to your Facebook profile. Not surprising, considering that Instagram is now owned by Facebook.
Is Facebook slowly killing Instagram? Does the new web profile signify the “end of mobile?”
The end of mobile: http://t.co/suSIyV4d
— Gahlord Dewald (@gahlord) November 5, 2012
Maybe. Or maybe it's just a new path.