Instagram has a new photo collage app – it’s called Layout – it’s got impressive features, just not an impressive name.
If you’re not careful, type in ‘Layout’ and you could easily find yourself downloading an app from Juicy Bits, an independent iOS software development company founded by Mark Swanson, rather than Layout from Instagram (as it’s branded).
You could say it’s a lesson on how playing ‘nice’ doesn’t win friends or make you money in internet land. “I know it’s naïve to think that everyone in our community of software developers will do the right thing, but I’d like to think that most of the well-known companies in our industry would recognize their leadership roles and lead by example,” wrote Swanson on his blog.
Note to ALL developers – protect your product!
Controversy aside, the new app is hyped as “making it easy to arrange your photos, tell stories and share with friends” but what makes it different to the rest?
The main screen opens with your Camera Roll as well as the very natty photo booth option (which lets you take up to 4 quick fire selfies in a row). The developers, recognising that most Instagram posts are of people, have given us a ‘faces’ tab as well as a tab for ‘recent ‘snaps.
You can select up to nine different photos for a total of sixteen different layouts. And from there, the app really does comes to the fore; you can mirror or flip your image, pinch to re-size and let the good times roll. The app then makes sharing your masterpiece even easier –via message, iCloud or let it access your other installed apps like Hootsuite and Gmail.
Let’s be clear, the concept isn’t new. Around 20 percent of the app’s 300 million users have already been using third-party photo collage app like Pic Stitch, Pic Collage, Framatic etc.
While average users have typically played with these cute but rudimentary collage apps, Layout allows for more arty style creations – think landscape shots merging horizon and land using neat ripple effects or doing more fun pop art style with mass tiled images. Layout’s extra features will make social media marketers a seemingly infinite stable of new followers. Brands like Victoria Secret and Sephora have already gotten onto it.
Unlike the other apps which have to push to generate profit via in app purchases for premium features , the makers of Layout have the ability to generate dollars through organic traffic – with users sharing their creations with friends and engaging with brands who will then in turn invest more money in marketing via Instagram, Facebook and social media in general.
While there are some definite shortcomings – you’re still limited to the standard square images for one, and while you can mirror or flip, you can’t rotate images. Regardless, Layout has raised the bar on creating photo masterpieces for average Joes and Joelines. Now we’re just waiting for Instagram to post a collage of *headdesk* moments from Mark Swanson…