Facebook has just announced it will acquire Instagram for $1 billion in cash and shares. And while most of us Facebook on a regular basis, there are inevitably going to be some misgivings about the services joining forces, especially when it comes to privacy, advertising and, well, the future of the service in general. Though Mark Zuckerberg announced that the service will stay independent and will continue to allow cross-posting to multiple social networks (and not enforce Facebook posting, thankfully) we don’t know how long that independence will last.
Now that Instagram is available for Android, it might be worth looking at some cross-platform alternatives that also boast strong filter support, vibrant communities and, in some ways, a superior experience.
1) PicPlz (iPhone and Android)
The old standard, PicPlz has beautiful interfaces for both iOS and Android, and provides a set of strong set of editing tools (from Aviary) that increases its usefulness tenfold. While the community has abated somewhat since the introduction of Instagram for Android, there are some great photos being posted on the service, but the app itself is very powerful and probably the best cross-platform alternative to Instagram. I even like the Android interface better than Instagram’s.
2) Lightbox (Android)
Lightbox asserts itself more like Tumblr than Instagram, but contains the core tenets of both. When you sign up for the service it gives you a subdomain (yourname.lightbox.com) and formats the page like a gallery.
But the Android-only app is also a great way to store photos on your device, and to find other great photographers. It’s a fairly active network, and allows you to add real-time filters and cross-post them to a number of services.
3) PicYou (iPhone)
Ironically, PicYou allows you to sign up using your Facebook profile, but that’s where the similarities end. Yes, you can add filters to your photos, but it seems like the service is more about posting photos of people than hipsterizing landscapes. To some this will be a turn off, with a tags cloud awash with words like ‘pretty’, ‘beautiful’, ‘cute’, ‘smile’ and ‘cats’ but the filters are great, the community is vibrant, multicultural and, well, it’s not Instagram.
Lastly, though Path is not explicitly a photo-sharing service, its use of filters (at least in the iOS version) and “streaming timeline” UX is fairly similar to Instagram. At least it can be used that way. The major difference is that Path is a social network for your 150 closest friends, while Instagram and its ilk are there to expose your photos to as many people as possible.
Do you have another Instagram alternative you’d like to use in the wake of its purchase, or will you stick with it despite the Facebook purchase?
And if you want to delete your Instagram account and export your photos, there’s a service for that, too.