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Insta-named app rebrands to avoid Facebook fallout

Third-party desktop client Instagrille renames itself Pixsta, as Facebook-owned photo app Instagram starts focusing on business.


The name Instagrille is no more. The most popular Instagram application for Windows desktops is being rebranded on Tuesday as Pixsta and upgraded with video support.

The changes come after the Insta-named version amassed more than 10 million downloads, but attracted the attention of Instagram parent company Facebook in the worst way.

Pixsta is the product of SweetLabs, the startup that runs the Pokki application marketplace for PCs. The 2-year-old application was purchased by SweetLabs last year after it gained attention from people wanting to experience Instagram on their desktops. The name Instagrille was a dead giveaway for its purpose -- perhaps too much so.

In August, Instagram began enforcing a policy that put similarly named apps like Instagrille in a precarious situation. The Facebook-owned company said applications could no longer "combine any part of the Instagram brand with your name, marks, designs or generic terms." Suddenly, Instagrille was guilty of this major don't.

Pixsta lets PC owners watch Instagram videos on their desktop computers. SweetLabs

Two months later, Pixsta is the new Instagrille. The app will look pretty familiar to its current users who spend, on average, upwards of 90 minutes per month, Alan Masarsky, the company's senior marketing manager, told CNET. The name, logo, and some design elements are new, and Pixsta also now supports Instagram video, a feature not readily available in other PC clients. Otherwise users will find that they can view, search, share, and download Instagram photos as usual.

On the record, SweetLabs will say that it was happy to comply with Instagram's new rules. The reality is less rosy, as the company had to change the name if it was to maintain an agreeable relationship with Facebook. After all, what good is an Instagram client for Windows without Instagram content?

Still, today's news is mostly sunny for fans of the PC app, though clouds could be in the forecast. A more business-minded Instagram is seeking to insert advertisements to turn a profit. If Facebook decides that third-party clients like Pixsta impede its efforts to show ads, the social network could enact another policy change, much like Twitter did, and limit access to the API. A simple name change won't fix that problem.