There’s an app for that is a common sentence you’re obviously used to hearing all day long if you hang around people with smartphones all day like I do. For those appolicious guys there are three updates rolled out for some of the most popular social apps in the world so far: Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
The updates not only add new features but also give us a glimpse of what to expect in 2013 as far as the battle for the best user experience across all platforms is concerned.
The YouTube app for Android has been updated to include better support for tablets. Though the app change-log only indicates that there’s been optimization for the newly launched Nexus 10, there’s also been some tweaking of the app to provide a better experience on tablets. Also a lot of emphasis is being put on the video feeds with channels that users visit more being central to the overall YouTube experience on tablets. This has been the case on the desktop version of YouTube but in a move to consolidate its long term hold the mobile market and position itself as the go to for video, the YouTube team at Google is bringing this to mobile devices through it tablet app and a revamped mobile web client.
The year 2012 has been particularly interesting for Twitter as it moves to rope in more and more users to use its own apps for a unified Twitter experience. This started with the stricter API rules that discouraged duplication of functionality already offered on Twitter’s own apps. While some favourite apps of mine like Flipboard were affected, things remained largely unchanged for my other favourite: Instagram. Well that lasted until the time Twitter started another vigorous campaign to limit access to its API by third parties. Instagram got hit. You could no longer get suggestions of following on Instagram your followers or following on Twitter who are already subscribed to the service.
Later Twitter launched Twitter Cards and its own pic.twitter service in conjunction with Photo Bucket to rival Twitpic and the like. Seemingly, Instagram was spared here as all our #nofilter snapshots still made it to our Twitter timelines. In a calculated move, Instagram removed this feature late last week. I only noticed this yesterday (Monday) morning when I realized that instead of a card showing up after the link on my timeline, only links were being shown which redirected to the image on Instagram’s website.
To counter that, Twitter last evening rolled out its own photo filters in conjunction with Aviary. There are now a wide range of filters available if you want to share your photo using Twitter’s Android app. I’m told the same is the case in iOS. In addition to the filters there is also the ability to edit the image further with a nice cropping tool (see screenshots below).
Whether Twitter’s introduction of its own filters marks the beginning of the end of the 100 million strong Facebook-owned Instagram is debatable but one thing is for sure: it is still around.
Unmoved by the happenings, Instagram has launched a new photo filter: Willow.
Head over to the Play Store and update your apps.