I downloaded the app for my iPhone signed up for an account, looked through the application features, and finally took a quick shot of my “library”. The service has remained the same (photos + funny filters + social stream = social network) since I first tried the service back in the early days. While I think the application user interface is superb I don’t like the search features, and I find this to be a service that doesn’t fit into my information lifestyle.
The service that resonated more with me as a user is Flickr. I downloaded the application Yahoo released during the traumatic period shortly after Instagram was bought and updated its terms of service. I hadn’t used Flickr prior to the mobile application and thought it was a great service that provided the fun element from Instagram (i.e. filters) with a more serious photo repository. As a test I used Flickr consistently for family vacation with mixed results. Uploading photos directly from the application gobbled up bandwidth and drained the battery. (Furthermore if you turn-on “upload on wifi only” to conserve batter life while a photo is queued for upload it will through an error when uploading, and you’ll lose the photo (even if you have save to camera roll turned on.) Not a great end-result though I put this down to user error rather than the service. Flickr also has a nuanced privacy setting which allows to select the privacy level at the photo level rather than have a single photo stream, which makes it better for storing and maintaining a photo library.