Instagram isn’t in any hurry to go into video-sharing. And it’s down to one simple factor: speed. “Users want a faster experience, they want to produce quickly,” says the popular photo-sharing app’s founder Kevin Systrom.
Systrom was speaking at LeWeb London 2012 — the British edition of the leading tech conference usually held in Paris. His speed obsession is fitting given that the conference’s theme is “Faster than real time” — an exploration of our need to share and the amount of data we currently create.
Systrom, who took the stage with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (Instagram’s own brand ambassador), says that with Instagram users “can take a photo and make it beautiful in seconds.”
The photo-sharing app, which recently hit the 50-million user mark, has had tech world buzzing in the wake of its Android launch and the one-billion dollar Facebook deal. The latter even had some questioning the company’s future.
Systrom seems more interested in what the app means for users, though, saying “you can get to know people through photos and that’s what cool about Instagram.”
This view is echoed by Oliver, who said that he found Twitter to be “quite bitchy”.
“Instagram is a way to democratise creativity. I really like Twitter but there is something about words that’s poisonous,” said Oliver.
The app’s post-Facebook future seems to be about doing more with the content it has now rather than launching something new.
“We have a lot of content and we need to explore more of that,” says Systrom. “I want Instagram to allow users to explore their lives more through the app. Be able show your friends photos from 10 years ago.”
Systrom reckons that, through exploration, people can personalise their photo streams more and give their photographs a much longer life span. This way users can enjoy the app more than by just sharing their photos.
After some prodding though, Systrom reluctantly hinted that “really interesting things going on” in video and that it would be cool if “you could watch Jamie Oliver teach you how make an omelete” that can be shared in the same way as it can on Instagram, citing the innovative way photo is animated with Cinemagram.
Systrom is still very much involved with Instagram and it seems the Facebook acquisition has not affected the company’s operation. In fact, the two are still operating as separate entities.