The popular photo-sharing service Instagram has just opened up a real-time API, so we can look forward to a new generation of apps which put photos front and center.
On its blog, the company breaks down the benefits of the Instagram real-time API and it says the main advantages are:
1) Users of the developer’s application: every time a user of an Instagram-linked application posts a photo, the developer’s application will receive a notification. Developers like Foodspotting and sites like Dropbox now both utilize this new functionality.
2) Tags: An application can track a given tag and receive updates every time a new photo is posted with a given tag.
3) Locations: Every time a new photo is geo-tagged with a specific location, the developer will receive a notification.
4) Geographies: Sometimes individual locations are too specific. For these cases, we suggest subscribing to Geographies. Geographies consist of a latitude and longitude and a radius. This allows developers to subscribe to a given area like Austin or a specific city block of Manhattan.
The Instagram real-time API can be built into an app like Foodspotting, as you’ll be able to view real-time pictures of dishes which have a specific hashtag. Other apps that will use the API include Dropbox, Flipboard and Momento.
The Instagram real-time API is just the latest step for the company, as it first launched as a relatively boring Foursquare clone but quickly pivoted to the photo-sharing service that has more than 1 million users. Now, we’re just waiting for it to expand to other platforms, as it’s still an iPhone-only app at the moment.
This is one of those smash hit apps that has actually crossed my “roommate” test. My roommates have iPhones but aren’t super tech savvy and we never talk about technology. The other day, lo and behold, my roommate was snapping photos and throwing filters with this app.