Facebook may be planning to develop an online presence for Instagram. The free photo-sharing service has so far been very successful as an app, but as a result its life has been largely limited to the mobile world. Since Facebook is now a public company, and because it acquired Instagram for so much moolah, I'm sure the social-networking giant is brainstorming ways it can use Instagram to bring in some additional revenue.
Web designer Cole Reinke found an interesting link on the official Instagram Web site that suggests Facebook may be testing an expansion. Currently, Instagram's site is next to useless. You can use it to perform basic functions such as changing your password, editing your profile, and managing your apps, but that's about it. As you can see above, however, Reinke found a "View Profile" link when he logged in to his account.
Online Instagram profiles coming soon? Clicking on the link lead me to a 404 error at my profile address. When I looked to see if it was still there three hours later, it had disappeared. But before I saw the option appear, Instagram went down for a minute or two.
Instagram currently recommends using one of six third-party Web sites and software to view photos. Here's what the company recommends in a Help Center document titled "View your photos on the Web":
While we're still developing our web presence at instagram.com, we encourage you to check out third-party sites that have been created using the official Instagram API. We've listed some of those sites and apps below.
Notice how the "we're still developing our web presence" language easily leaves an opening for an actually functional Web site. If that happens though, the six listed third-party Web sites will likely take quite a hit.
This test would seem to imply Facebook/Instagram is at least flirting with the idea. I can't see a "View Profile" link when I go to Instagram's Web site, but engineers could easily have been trying something out and Reinke just so happened to be on the right page at the right time. If you wind up seeing what Reinke saw, let me know in the comments below.