Is our love of Instagram misplaced?

I was really in love with Instagram. I’ve put tons of photos into the system, and love the feedback I get there, love the quality of photos I see flowing through the system there, love the user interface, and more. So do many other people. It was the hit of 2010, breaking a million users after just being out a few weeks.

But is our love misplaced?

I’ve found my love waning after learning that competitor PicPlz is cross platform. That alone should be important, because more of your friends can see (and share with you) photos.

But after talking to PicPlz’ CEO/founder Dalton Caldwell I learned something far more important: it doesn’t destroy image quality the way Instagram does.

Let me explain what I mean.

If I use Instagram it reduces the image size to fit into its format. That’s throwing pixels away.
But worse, if I apply a filter in Instagram, say, to make an image black and white, it permanently throws away the color info and only uploads to its servers a black and white version.

PicPlz, on the other hand, uploads the full quality photo (which takes slightly longer) but then applies any filters you use on the server. Even then it stores both your original image as well as the new, black and white version (or whatever filter you chose). That’s a HUGE difference in philosophy and one that is making me question my love of Instagram.

Further, PicPlz has an API (read and write) that lets you do filters and other stuff server side that Instagram is going to struggle to do.

How about you? Are you still in love with Instagram after hearing all this?

Here, watch Dalton demo his app and tell me how PicPlz works.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

24 thoughts on “Is our love of Instagram misplaced?

  1. I really prefer instagram but yeah, the original doesn’t matter as much to me as having a great web interface so istagram should do that next

  2. Not (yet) having tried PicPlz, but being an avid amateur photographer with “real” cameras, and loving Instagram I just wanted to add that I rarely take photos with the Instagram app. I *know* it will be destructive to the pixels, and just like Hipstamatic it will crop whatever I throw at it to a square. As I know this I take photos with that in mind too, and it has in fact made me go more creative within the boundaries I am given. Just saying, when I need my photos to be full-size and beautiful, I don’t go with the hip apps like Instagram or Hipstamatic in any case.

    This means that the main thing I appreciate Instagram for is its sharing capabilities when it comes to the networks I have it connected to. The other thing would be the “always with me” factor that most camera apps have when I am not lugging my DSLR around.

    Having said all of that I shall stop typing and download PicPlz though, can’t have too many camera apps now can I? :)

  3. Robert, from what I’ve heard, the iPhone sucks at making phone calls. When you can get the antenna to work, the mic and sound quality are lame. Cheap Nokia phones can do better than that. But everyone still raves about the iPhone.

    Maybe Instagram is killing data, but most of the users don’t care. Kevin’s tapped into an international demographic of amateurs that couldn’t care less about that stuff.

    Instagram’s built a tribe. A community. It’s simple and powerful.

    Who would ever use Twitter when you’ve got Google Buzz?

    Who would ever use Instagram when you’ve got PicPlz?

    Nothing’s misplaced here.

    1. ‘From what you’ve heard’ Is the key point to your comment because what you have heard is a lot of crap, I’ve never had a failed call, never had an antenna problem and the mic is great, don’t judge something by what you hear.

    1. Daily Booth is a bit too narcissistic for even me, but has lots of users. I just haven’t taken to Burstn, but need to really figure out why. I haven’t tried Steply, will try that.

      1. Steply’s philosophy is similar on not sacrificing people preferences but taking another approach. We integrated the community into many photo apps so people can choose from varies photo processing apps while sharing to the same place. Try Steply app and Phototreats app with the same login!

    2. I’m very impressed with Burstn’s granular privacy options, and the ability to share from within the app even with people who aren’t on popular social networks (sometimes I want to post a photo to Tumblr AND make sure my mum sees it).

  4. I never really understood al this fuss about Instagram. We’ve been sharing pics forever, and there are plenty of applications that apply filters to our photos if that’s what people like, so why sharing on a different platform than the one we always used? Furthermore Instagram is iPhone only and there’s no chance to see somebody’s photos unless you have a direct link.

    Personally I’ll stick with Mobypicture.com and won’t care of neither Instagram nor Picplz.

  5. Until the latest update, I couldn’t stand the PicPlz app. I didn’t like how it opened in the camera instead of showing the feed. I still prefer Instagram.

    All of those issues you mentioned with Instagram can be fixed by the developer.

  6. Is this an article about Instagram or Picplz? I’m confused.

    Apparently Scoble is now the CTO of Instagram … “Further, PicPlz has an API (read and write) that lets you do filters and other stuff server side that Instagram is going to ****struggle**** to do.” WTF? how exactly will Instagram “struggle”?

    When did Scoble join Fox news? This is hilarious.

  7. I’ve been wondering about that for a long time I upload to both Instagram and Picplz but I noticed my photos where getting dumbed down on Instagram. Thanks for the tip Robert I thought there was no better alternative.

  8. No one on instagram complains about image quality or not being able to upload original image, we have Flickr to upload original image as a means of backup. Instagram is built around the mobile community, it allows people to showcase their creativity in photos they snap. The process is instant, shoot – filter – upload. The service works fast even on a slowest Edge/GPRS when I’m outside the proper coverage area where the reception is poor. Over the days I’ve found a new love for Instagram, I use this app to share little things that I love around me in my everyday life and I don’t necessarily need to have them in HQ.

    Most users are happy about what Instagram offers, the only thing I’d expect from them is to browse the all photos on web so my friends without iPhone can check them. Currently I upload every pic to Flickr using auto integration, but I’d really like to see my collections of instragram on web.

    PicPlz is kinda buggy atm, I installed the app today and tried to connect via Facebook to register and I was unsuccessful. I just couldn’t get it done. I had to do it online and most pics seems like they weren’t shot on Mobile, you have options to upload pics from computer and apply filter. I think PicPlz deviates from serving a niche to opening to broad audience, which is were they loose dedicated users that Instagram has. I quiet like the features of PicPlz but it hasn’t convinced me yet to be active there.

  9. I have them both on my phone and am struggling to figure out which to stick with. Keeping the original is a huge plus, as is the fact that PicPlz has a web interface.

    On the other hand, Instagram’s iPhone app is so fluid & gorgeous (that alone keeps me coming back)…and I like the privacy features.

    I’m gonna use both until it becomes a no-brainer to stick with one.

  10. all internet services no matter how cool are hooks for the advertising industry. the user is only a data-provider.

    from citizen to consumer to data provider, the “progress” of the digital age.

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