The day has finally come. You can now attain an Instagram membership without a mobile device, as the popular photo and video sharing app is opening its doors to everyone with a computer.
Instagram has been accessible through a computer for years, though it has limited functionality outside of the app. Users can comment on others’ pictures from the web, but cannot upload their own content without the app. Those without a smartphone couldn’t even create an account on the service without the assistance of an emulating program such as BlueStacks.
Instagram’s latest move will invalidate that necessity, as account creation can now be achieved through any web browser — though the new sign up form is experiencing technical difficulties for some.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion back in 2012, and some heads were turned at what seemed at the time to be an astronomical price for the acquisition. In subsequent years, however, the opposite proved to be true; Instagram continued booming and raking in revenue as its subscriber base quickly surpassed multiple 100-million member milestones.
Just last month, Instagram announced that their user base has crossed the threshold of 400 million users. That means 400 million people have signed up for the service — all of which used a mobile device.
It’s clear to just about everyone now that the billion-dollar purchase was in fact a steal.
Instagram has since been widely adopted by people all around the world. It has become important — especially for businesses and organizations — to establish themselves on the service, as it provides a unique dimension to connect to an audience through imagery. Perhaps the best example of this is the International Space Station, which regularly delivers photos from space to its 942,000 followers.
The question that remains is whether or not Instagram intends on taking the computer migration further. Adding the sign up option will undoubtedly help propel the service to its 500-million member milestone, so the change in itself may be all they intend to do.
Instagram hasn’t officially released a statement yet that explains their motivations. If they do plan on making the service less exclusive to mobile users, one way to accomplish that would be to allow users to upload pictures from their computer as well. The addition would make sense, too. Professional photographers that prefer high-end cameras over smartphones and computer-based content creators would have an easier time uploading their best images from a computer. Not that transferring files from a computer to a mobile device is especially hard, but it would make it more convenient to upload directly.
Convenience aside, it’s no surprise that Instagram is finally allowing users to create accounts from the computer after years of restricting the process to mobile devices. Social media networks struggle to balance their trademark features and limitations in order to adapt to the evolving needs of their users. Earlier this month, representatives from Twitter discussed the possibility of removing or extending the 140-character limit of tweets, which while symbolic of Twitter’s “micro-blogging” platform, has also been the subject of complaints.