First Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram

InstagramWell, that didn’t take long! The first class action lawsuit against Instagram has been filed. This civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The case is called “Lucy Funes, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Instagram Inc.”. It was filed by a San Diego based law firm called Filkelstein & Krinsk.

As you may have guessed, this lawsuit is about Instagram’s recent change to its terms of service. After much public outcry, (and a lot of people removing their photos from Instagram and taking them elsewhere), Instagram did make a modification to the unpopular change in its terms of service.

However, the lawsuit is in regards to a portion of the terms that are still there. Instagram kept in the wording that gives it the ability to take user content (the photos people put on Instagram), and place ads in conjunction with that content. There is a part of the terms of service that is still in effect that says that Instagram “may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such”.

The lawsuit is also about another issue related to the first one. People who used Instagram, but didn’t like the new terms of service, had no option other than to cancel their profile. Many did exactly that. However, the lawsuit notes that users who have canceled their profile then forfeit rights to their photos that they once shared through Instagram.

In response, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes had this to say to Reuters:

We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.

When Instagram changed its terms of service, it included a mandatory arbitration clause. In short, that basically means that users who didn’t like the new terms of service could not sue Instagram. It would result in unhappy users waiving their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit.

However, that portion of the new terms of service doesn’t take effect until sometime in January of 2013. This means that it is possible for “all others similarly situated” to become a part of this class action lawsuit.

Twitter and Instagram Compete for Your Photos

Twitter and Instagram are getting ready to offer you a few more places to post your photos. Right now, there aren’t a whole lot of details that have been released. Those of you who feel that you don’t have enough of places to post your photos will probably embrace at least one of these upcoming options.

Instagram has announced that it will be rolling out Instagram profiles. This is in response to the request Instagram had from users who wanted there to be an Instagram interface that was on the web. Your web profile will feature a selection of the photos that you recently shared through Instagram. You can put in a profile photo and create a bio.

People can follow your profile, and you can follow the profiles of other Instagram users. Anyone can comment on the photos or “like” them. I suppose it was only a matter of time until Facebook, which bought Instagram, would figure out a way to get its iconic “like” button in there somewhere. You will not be able to upload Instagram photos through your Instagram profile. My best guess is this is to prevent users from opting out of using the Instragram app in favor of the profile.

According to the New York Times, Twitter is going to be adding photo filters to what it can offer users. The purpose, of course, would be to compete with Instagram (and all the ways it lets you alter and play with a photo).

Although Twitter has made a deal with Photobucket in the past, it seems that Twitter is now storing images on its own servers. It appears that Twitter is quietly working on building its own photo filters that will let you alter your photos like you can with Instagram, (only without actually using Instagram to do it). Like Instagram, the filters from Twitter will be accessible through its mobile app. No word yet on when the filters will be ready.

Image: Stock Photo Using Mobile Phone by BigStock

Europe Has a New Tallest Building: The Shard Featured on Instagram

Today, July 5th, marked the official opening of the new tallest building in the European Union, although construction was actually completed back in April of this year.  Called “The Shard“, and formerly known by the name “London Bridge Tower”, the building is 309.6 meters tall with 72 habitable floors.  It also features a viewing gallery and observation deck on the 72nd story.

If you are wondering how this article fits into our normal tech news genre, well there are a couple of reasons.  First is the architecture, which likely couldn’t have been done in the pre-computer design era.  The long, thin pyramid design is beautiful to behold and a challenge to design and build.

Second, the pictures taken of the new building were picked up by web and mobile photo sharing service Instgram, who today dedicated a page to images of The Shard.  They announced this today through a post on their blog, and also added a few images, which you can see below.

Image Credit: Instagram Blog

Busy Week at Instagram

Social photo service Instagram just had a big week, although not as big as the week of the billion dollar buyout, but it’s all relative.  This week the mobile app company released a slew of updates, including ones to their Android and iOS apps, as well as to their web site.  There were bug fixes and new features for everyone, and with the power and financial backing of Facebook behind them, they will likely be moving even faster with their updates and upgrades.

Updates to the android app included:

  • Improved search functionality
  • Support for location data taken from Gallery images when geotag is selected
  • Fix for HTC Sensation 4G freezing using tilt shift
  • Improved support and bugfixes for devices using the Instagram advanced camera
  • Addresses tilt shift issues on lower resolution images

iOS users can expect similar improvements.

  • Revamped profile tab
  • Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
  • Improvements to commenting
  • User search autocompletes based on people you follow
  • Visual improvements
  • Speed optimizations
  • Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)

If you want to access the service from a computer then you got the biggest update of all.  Instagram has finally allows you to follow, comment and like from your web browser.

Instagram, now a property of Facebook, is the number one photo sharing service right now and they continue update and innovate in an effort to stay relevant in today’s ever-changing tech world.   Like other social networks, it’s free to use.

Instagram for Android Updates to 1.1, Adds Tilt-Shift

Instagram launched their long-awaited Android app just a few weeks ago.  It was followed by several small updates to get it up and working properly, but today they have finally released the first feature update, dubbed version 1.1.  The latest version adds just one feature, but it’s an important one to anyone that has used Instagram – tilt-shift.

The name may be a bit cryptic, but tilt-shift is essentially an effect that adds depth-of-field to your images.  In other words, it’s that cool effect you get in high-end DSLR cameras that causes the background to be blurred, bringing the subject into better focus.  With Instagram this isn’t done at the time the image is snapped, but in post-production with a filter.

In you are interested in more in-depth information about using this feature then you can head over to the Instagram blog to read their tips for using tilt-shift.  Instagram is available for free from the Google Play Store.

Tech Bubble? There’s An App For That.

Courtesy Facebook

Whether he knows it or not, Mark Zuckerberg fired the starter’s pistol when he reportedly single-handedly spent more than $1 billion on photo-sharing app Instagram earlier this month. The Facebook CEO apparently cut his board of directors out of the picture and decided unilaterally to purchase the relatively small Instagram for a universally huge sum of $1 billion-plus.

Nearly two weeks later, we find out that Facebook dropped another half-billion dollars on a patent buy from Microsoft – who had purchased that chunk of patents and more from AOL for a billion bucks around the same time Facebook bought Instagram.

Courtesy LinkedIn

That might qualify as a spending spree. And when one social media giant whips out its checkbook like that, you can bet a handful of other players start to wriggle a bit in their office chairs. On the other side of things, when one of those checks gets delivered to the owners of an app, you can bet the sea of app developers starts to roil and swell with the “next big thing” hoping to emerge from the churn and become overnight gazillionaires. [Read more…]

GNC-2012-04-20 #758 Back from NAB!

Back from NAB with a rare Friday show, be sure to check out the podcast and get all caught up.. Headed to Florida tomorrow night so there will be two shows from Florida next week.

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GNC-2012-04-09 #756 Best Tech Show on Earth!

Back in Hawaii for two shows, headed to the NAB Show this coming Friday will likely be a crazy schedule once the show starts. Lots of moving parts, but as always great tech coming your way from the best tech show on earth. ;)

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Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion

 

Facebook Shells Out $1 Billion For Instagram

The folks at Instagram – screamingly popular free photo-sharing app – announced about an hour ago that they are being bought by Facebook for the mind-numbing price of $1 billion (definitely billion with a “b”).

Facebook announced here and Instagram humbly announced they were being bought here. Both parties – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom  – insist that the photo sharing service would be allowed to grow and operate independently.

Instagram bought for $1 billion cash/stock by Facebook.

The real news isn’t the purchase itself, but the price. One billion dollars in cash and stock is a huge, huge number for an acquisition in Internet-land – already branded a block-buster deal that is sending shockwaves through Silicon Valley (figuratively, of course). Could a photo sharing app possibly be worth that much (keep in mind the company has a grand total of NINE employees)? Is Facebook simply trying to bolster it’s own value before their impending IPO?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of days, for sure.

 

Instagram for Android Sign-up Now Available

Android Logo

Instagram, the popular iPhone app that allows users to share photos, is finally coming to Android as you may have heard.  Today they made it feel a little more official by setting up a web page to allow people to sign up for information on the long-awaited app.  Instagram showed off their forthcoming Android app at SXSW in Austin, Texas recently and it made quite a splash.

Unfortunately the sign-up page doesn’t give any real information about the new app, but only provides a place for those who can’t wait to enter their email address and receive notifications.  Still, it is another step closer to making this all a reality.  While we don’t know an official launch date, it’s likely that it will be within the next few weeks.  You can sign up at instagr.am/android.