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Instagram API opens up popular iPhone photo app

Popular photography app Instagram is looking to grow its services, releasing a public API that allows programmers to interface with the service in new and innovative ways.

Originally an iPhone app designed to take photographs with a variety of creative filters, the Instagram service has grown into a powerful photo-sharing utility – and the company hopes that the release of the new API will help grow the service still further.

Following several weeks of private beta, the new Instagram API is designed to allow developers to access and use the Instagram service in their own apps – meaning similar applications could start to appear on other smartphone platforms, such as Google’s popular Android OS.

While the API, like the service itself, is free to use, the company has laid out some ground rules for its use. The Instagram name remains verboten, meaning spin-off apps will have to choose a more creative moniker than “Instagram for Android,” while there’s also a moratorium on using the API to crawl through the database and download masses of users’ photos.

Images taken by and shared on Instagram remain the copyright of the person taking the photo – and the company requests that developers looking to use the service respect that right, and don’t use the images in inappropriate ways or without a user’s explicit consent.

“As the number of photos uploaded grows, we believe that the Instagram community is building a rich visual history of the world,” a company spokesperson explained. “It’s only natural to find ways of encouraging talented developers to build interesting ways to explore the data.”

The API is available for use now, with more details available on the Instagram site.

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