Today, I downloaded the Instagram application on to my iPhone and iPad to test it against the capabilities of TappIn. Here is what I found:
First off, let me say that these are really very different apps.
Instagram can best be described as a mini-Facebook picture sharing app. Essentially, you can take pictures, do some interesting editing, create slide shows and share them with anyone that you are ‘following’ or that is ‘following you’ as well as anyone on the ‘public network’. Like Facebook, you can comment, “like” or share the photos with others in your network.
TappIn is a much different concept. We are not building a social network. We have created a platform for access and sharing of digital content between a broad range of computing and mobile devices. The TappIn service manages a much broader range of content and wider range of technologies.
Instagram is a free app that was designed to build subscribers not revenue. Instagram instead makes revenue from advertisements they run in their app.
The Instagram app was designed as a social networking app not a digital content access service. Instagram makes sense in the context of Facebook as it connects individuals based on their pictures and gives cool tools to make the sharing more interesting (editing, slideshows, etc.).
For photos and videos, Instagram has some cool photo editing tools. Instagram also gives its users the ability to comment on friends’ content, ‘like’ their friends’ content etc. Instagram is much more of a social networking app than a broad digital content sharing app.
TappIn supports a much broader range of content than just pictures. TappIn streams music, gives access to documents and virtually any digital content available on any mobile device.
TappIn will also drive many more connections as we add connectors for cloud storage, users through NAS and disk storage providers as well as other SaaS applications that have digital content valuable to access and share.
Keeping You Updated
Another valuable setting is ‘Push Notifications’. Instagram will notify you when someone you are following posts a new photo.
The TappIn version of this would be auto-notification when someone updated a folder or added/removed content. Again, this is a feature we have on our list as a future update.
Instagram is essentially an Apple based app. It’s implemented for Mac and iOS platforms (Android came out April 2nd).
The TappIn app is far more broad supporting Windows, MAC, and Linux as desktop/laptop platforms and iOS, Android and Windows 7.5+ for mobile platforms.
I have also put some screen shots together of the aesthetic and user-interface differences between TappIn and Instagram:
The homepage for Instagram displays pictures that are from people in your network. These photos are displayed in chronological order. And with this running display, users can ‘comment’, ‘like’ etc., on their friends and other people in their networks’ photos.
Unlike TappIn, there is no concept for grouping these into folders, grouping by type, thumbnails for high resolution, or authenticated sharing … the focus of this app is both taking/editing photos as well as unrestricted sharing of photos to a network of personal connections or the network at large.
Creating Your Profile
Instagram has its users create profiles. The profile serves much like a dashboard for the app, allowing the user to control their content in that app from one place.
In the middle of this screen, you will see ‘Photos’. This is more of a dashboard for who? What? And how many? (Obviously, I did not take a lot of time to upload photos or connect with more than one contact).
TappIn does not quite have this ‘dashboard-like feature’, but it’s a part of our future designs.
Growing Your Network by Finding People to Share With
In order to ‘find friends’ to put in your network, Instagram will search your Twitter, Facebook or let you search their network for a specific user name. To ‘invite friends’ it will bring up your contact list on your mobile device and allow you to select people to invite.
TappIn inherits contacts from your contact list and email, but we do not have a smooth integration with social networks.
Because Instagram is more of a social media app, the profile also allows users to build a web presence for those users who are using the app to expand their online network. Here is a screen shot of Instagram’s “Popular” page in which the most viewed photos on the Instagram public network are placed in a continuously running display:
While we have discussed the concept, we did not go in the direction of creating an ‘alternate network’. Hmmmm…$1B for this company…maybe next time.
— Doug Wheeler