Instagram is leaving the confines of the smartphone that birthed the wildly popular photo-sharing service to stake a spot on the web. Instagram began life as an iPhone-only photo-sharing app and eventually expanded to Android, but, until today, Instagram lacked a web presence.
The new Instagram web profiles are not the full Instagram experience on the web — there’s still no way to actually upload photos — but they do at least give you a URL to share with curious friends and family.
Your new Instagram URL gives your recently shared photographs a home on the web, along with your profile photo and any bio info you’ve added through the Instagram app. The web interface also handles most of Instagram’s basic social features, like following users, leaving comments and liking photos.
Instagram’s new web-based profiles are rolling out slowly over the next week. To see your profile, provided it’s available, just head to instagram.com/[username]. Assuming your photos are set to public, anyone will be able to see your profile by visiting that address; you do not need to be an Instagram user to view a public user’s profile on the web. If your photos are set to private they’ll only be visible to people that already follow you and are logged in to the site.
While the new profile pages mark Instagram’s first foray onto the web, the company has long offered an API and there are already numerous third-party websites that offer web-based access to Instagram profiles. Sites like web.stagram.com or statigr.am offer not only access to your photostream and comments, but additional features not found in the current incarnation of the “official” site — like embeddable gallery widgets and a variety of ways to view images.