Photo sharing to tell your life story

Instagram is a free and fairly simple photo enhancement app that requires only a couple of touches to produce great-looking images you can share with social networks.

Instagram is a free and fairly simple photo enhancement app that requires only a couple of touches to produce great-looking images. But what's really special about Instagram are the sharing capabilities that let you tell the story of your life through photos.

Start by signing up with Instagram with an e-mail address, username, and password. From there you can configure Instagram to autopost to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Posterous, or just choose to share images from within the app or via e-mail. You can also turn any of these options on or off if you don't want to share your shots with everyone.

Once you're all connected, you'll be able to snap a photo wherever you are, move and scale the image, add an effect with a touch of your finger, and then touch Done to share your photographic moment with the world. The app comes with several free custom-designed filters that can give your image various retro effects, a grainy black-and-white look, or even adjustable tilt-shift options. When you're satisfied with the look, you can add a caption along with optional geotagging, then share it right away.

Even with just the features mentioned, this free app would already be easy to recommend, but a couple of added features make it even better. Once signed up with Instagram, you can follow other Instagram users on the Feed page, which shows recent images taken by you and your friends. Here you can comment and "like" photos. Switch tabs to look at a Popular list that shows all the most popular Instagram images from all users. You also can look at a News tab, which shows the latest actions by your connected friends (liked, commented, or otherwise), so you can see what your friends are currently looking at. I think these features make Instagram an app you might look at every day, just to see what your friends are up to.

In version 2.5, Instagram has a few new features that will be appreciated by fans of the service. The app now has integrated Facebook Likes, the capability to search for tags and users in the Explore section (with autocomplete), visual tweaks to the interface, and speed enhancements. The app also offers minor improvements to commenting and a revamped profile tab. While the changes are mostly minor, they bring Instagram more into the fold at Facebook and I think users will enjoy the increasing level of interactivity between the two services.

Overall, Instagram is an excellent way to take great-looking shots and share them with anyone. The in-app feed and news options make it a unique app for connecting with your friends across social networks. I highly recommend this app to anyone who wants to share images in fun and unique ways.

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