The photo-sharing site is changing the size and shape of photos it allows, removing one of the key differences it had from rivals and likely drawing many more users in the process.
If you were to explain Instagram to someone, you’d probably say it has square photos. It’s one of the most obvious things about the service. Well, not anymore.
The photo-sharing company, which Facebook bought in 2012, said Thursday that it will allow users to post photos and videos that are either square or a more typical rectangular shape.
It may seem like a small shift to some, but to Instagram this changes what the service is and the type of videos and photos it will likely attract. “Square format has been and always will be part of who we are,” the company said in its announcement.
Instagram counts more than 300 million users around the world who sign in at least once per month, and they share about 70 million photos each day.
And it has been busy of late adding features and capabilities. In June and July, for instance, it debuted a feature called “Explore”to guide users to real-time news and events, added the ability tosearch by hashtag or location, and began allowing the sharing of high-definition photos.
So why the latest change? The company arrived at this conclusion after noticing that nearly one out of every five photos or videos posted to the site are not in the square format. Instead, they often have black bars (ugly!) on their sides or they’re cropped, sometimes forcing friends out of group photos.
Lest you think Instagram is completely changing its look, the company said it will automatically crop photos to the square for situations such as user profile pages, to “keep the clean feel” of the grid-like design.