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Instagram has been in the news non-stop these past two weeks. It started with the launch of its much anticipated Android app, and continued with the subsequent acquisition by Facebook. Both moves created heated reactions from Instagram users, which were not always positive.
I only recently got to try Instagram, and although it’s a fun little app, I wasn’t blown away. The one thing that’s really going for Instagram is its immense popularity, but many apps out there do the same thing, sometimes even better. So whether you’re not sure about Instagram’s Facebook-ish future, or are just curious about the alternatives that exist out there, check out this list of 6 awesome Instagram alternatives.
PicPlz [Android 2.1+ & iOS]
(Update: This service is no longer available)
PicPlz has actually been around longer than Instagram, and boasts a rich network of users who use it to share photos. PicPlz relies heavily on geo-tagging, and lets users browse photos from all over the world, organized by location. PicPlz has a web interface, so downloading a mobile app is not a must, but is definitely recommended.
If you choose to download the app, you will find it is very similar to Instagram. PicPlz lets you use your preferred camera app to take photos, to which you can then apply different filters.
You can then add your location and a caption, before you post it to PicPlz. You can also upload your photo to several networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox and Tumblr from within the app.
Hipster [2.2+ & iOS]
Hipster is a postcard-sharing app, which also relies on location and geo-tagging. Once you create an account (or sign in using Facebook), you can start creating postcards. You don’t need a camera to use the the app, you can add photos from the library as well.
Once you have a photo, you can apply all kinds of different postcard-themed filters, and also add a label which will appear somewhere on the postcard, depending on the kind you’ve chosen. You can also use Hipster to crop your photo to perfection.
When you’re done, you can add a note and share your postcard with your Hipster friends or on several social networks. You can also use Hipster to browse postcards from people nearby, or to find interesting photos from around the world.
Pixlr-o-matic is more about filters and effects than about sharing, although sharing through the app is very easy. Pixlr-o-matic has one of the best interfaces I’ve seen for such an app, and it’s really a delight to use if you’re a fan of photo editing. There is literally no end to the amount of different combination you can create.
Pixlr-o-matic lets you either take a photo using your favorite camera app, or choose an already existing photo from your device. You can then choose between numerous filters, effects and frames to reach the perfect result.
When you’re done, you can either save the result to your device, upload it to imm.io, or share it using any sharing app installed on your device, very much including Instagram.
While Pixlr-o-matic doesn’t have a community, and is not all about sharing, its photo editing capacities much surpass those of Instagram, just in case you found Instagram lacking in that department.
Lightbox Photos [Android 2.1+]
(The Lightbox team has joined Facebook)
is much more than a photo sharing app – it’s a photo sharing community, much like Instagram. Even without the app, you can create your own photo blog and share photos with people around the world.
If you do download the app, you can start playing with Lightbox’s filters without even creating an account. You will have to do so eventually if you want to share photos. When you create an account, you get your own URL on lightbox.com, where you can publish your photos. The app includes several filters you can apply, lets you add a description and geo-tag your photos, and then share them through various networks (including Instagram).
Your Lightbox photos can be shared as private, unlisted or public, and you can also connect the app to Facebook for more immediate sharing.
Streamzoo [No Longer Available]
Streamzoo is another photo-sharing community, which can be experienced entirely on the web, or via the mobile apps. Streamzoo employs hashtags to create different #streams you can browse through, and also includes games such as points earning and badges you can win. There is a big community to share with and compete with for these badges.
Using the mobile app, you can take a photo or record a video, or use ones you already have on your device. You can change the aspect ratio on the photo, and then add filters, frames, tilt shift effects (as seen below), and even play with saturation, brightness, hues, etc.
When you’re done, you can post your photo as private or public, choose to include a geo-tag, and also share it on networks such as Facebook, Flickr or Tumblr. When describing the photo, you can include #tags and mentions of other @users, very much like you would on Twitter.
Snapster is another app that is more about filters than about the sharing community, but it has some awesome features which will help you create photos worth sharing.
Snapster lets you snap a photo with your device or choose one from your library. You can then choose from one of Snapster’s ready-made filters, which include a frame, or start playing with frames, colors and textures to create your own effects. In this way, you’re not limited to a number of pre-determined filters, but can create almost anything you can think of.
When you reach a result you like, you can save it as a filter, and then get the same result immediately for other images.
Snapster doesn’t have its own community, but lets you share your photo using other apps (yes, including Instagram), or save it to your device.
Do you know of other apps that are great alternatives for Instagram? Are you worried about Instagram’s future, or do you plan to continue using the app? Tell us everything in the comments.