For most of its roughly two-year existence, Instagram has trapped its bounty inside mobile apps.
More recently, though, the photo-sharing service has made chunks of its service available to desktop users. First you could view a page for individual photos from any browser, and in November it added profile pages that displayed all of a user's images.
As of Tuesday, you finally see a working version of your Instagram feed online. Login at Instagram.com and you'll get a replica of your Instagram home screen with photos from everyone you follow unfurling as you scroll down the browser window. There are no extra bells or whistles here, but you can double click to "Like" an image, leave comments and follow or unfollow people.
Unfortunately, the web version is still missing the most important Instagram feature: the ability to upload photos. The company has always put mobile first. The photos shared on the app are meant to be taken with the built-in cameras on mobile devices and their low resolution a perfect match for Instagram's grainy film filters.
As the Facebook-owned service becomes more popular, there will be demand to access it from more devices, even to share photographs taken with higher-quality cameras. But for now the company is putting mobility and speed ahead of those features.
"Our focus on building out a mobile-only experience is a unique path that we've chosen for many reasons, the most important of which is that Instagram, at its core, is about seeing and taking photos on-the-go," said co-founder Kevin Systrom in a blog post announcing the feature.
The web interface is missing other parts familiar to app users, as well. The explore page that allows you to browse by users or hashtags is not there, and neither is the fun photo-map feature that lets you see where in the world a user took all their photos.
Third-party instagram client Webstagram has an online version of your Instagram feed. Though not nearly as attractive as the new official version, it still has some of those features missing from Instagram's website, including the ability to click on hashtags and see your followers and those people you are following.
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