Twitter announced Monday that it would offer users of its
social-networking service the ability to filter and crop photographs they wish
to share -- the same features of mobile app Instagram, which announced less
than a week before that it would cut off integration with Twitter.
In an announcement Monday, Twitter said a new version of its mobile app for iOS and Android users would include eight photo filters and the ability to crop photos directly in the company's mobile app.
"Starting today, you'll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter," Twitter designer Coleen Baik wrote in a blog post Monday.
Instagram, the San Francisco mobile photo-sharing app that Facebook purchased earlier this year, announced Wednesday that photos taken with its service -- which offers similar filters and abilities -- would no longer be visible on Twitter. That change went into final effect Monday, when Instagram-related tweets could be used only as external links to the photos as they appear on the Instagram site. Instagram still has quite a head start on Twitter, as the company announced in a blog post Monday that an update to the iOS app would include its 18th filter, Willow, which the company described as "a monochrome filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border."
Twitter's move to offer more functionality to budding smartphone photographers does not seem to have been born from the end of Instagram integration, however: The company's partner in the photo-filters effort, photo-editing software provider Aviary, said in a blog post Monday that the two companies had been working on the project together for "several months."
"Together we've created a unique experience that makes it easier than ever for people to create and share photos on Twitter, in real time," Aviary founder and CEO Avi Muchnick added in the post.
Instagram announced a new Web portal earlier this month, getting away from its mobile-only roots and offering a standard way to view the photos on nonmobile devices. More importantly, it gives the company a Web destination to send users of other social networks that can eventually host revenue-generating advertising.
"We believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives," Instagram cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom said in a statement about the ceased integration last week.
Many analysts have posited that Facebook's privacy change is the first step in monetizing Instagram, offering ads on the site and mobile app, as it does with its own offerings. Forcing Twitter users to go to the Instagram website or mobile app in order to see a photo would help in any advertising effort, giving Facebook more "eyeballs," viewers for whom advertisers pay.
"If the eyeballs are elsewhere, you have less to work with in terms of monetization," Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said last week.
Systrom said in an interview last week that the company is not sharing plans about advertising yet, but he realizes it is time for Instagram to begin producing revenue.
"Even from the beginning when we started Instagram, we realized we had to build an independent business, and even within Facebook, we realize we still have to contribute to the business," Systrom said in an interview with Reuters TV.
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