October 11, 2013
New Sound, Data Controls Come With Instagram App Update
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Instagram updated its apps for both Android and iOS. The updates include new sound and data usage controls for videos on the platform, it said in two separate - but nearly identical - posts on Twitter.
While Instagram was more forthcoming on Twitter about the updates, the updates listing in both Android's Google Play and Apple's App Store on iTunes was more cryptic, saying the update offers "performance updates and other improvements," according to a CNET report.
The Android update includes a photo-straightening feature, which has been available for the iOS version for some time, Mashable reports. The new feature allows users to straighten a crooked or tilted photo with the touch of a button.
Instagram was light in providing details of the new features and enhancements to the updates in both Android and IOS. The most detail provided was on Twitter. The update description provided little, and the Instagram blog didn't get a post on the new updates.
Some new features and enhancements are evident from testing the updated versions.
"It appears users can now set up an app to mute video sound altogether, or make it consistent with the phone's ringer. For example, if your ringer is on, the video sound will play automatically unless you choose the mute option in the app's settings. If your ringer is on silent, the videos in your feed will be silent. A small microphone icon in the video's upper right-hand corner allows users to turn the sound on or off without switching the phone's ringer," Kurt Wagner from Mashable wrote.
In addition to sound settings, the update includes better settings for data usage.
"The data usage controls appear to align with changes that Instagram's parent company, Facebook, has been focused on for months. Facebook has been vocal that the future of its mobile offering will rely on bringing users an app that minimizes the data requirements that it's more affordable and available to those outside of the United States," Wagner wrote.
Data usage is a concern in the United States as well as elsewhere in the world. Many carriers have done away with unlimited data, and charge mobile phone subscribers a premium when they go over their limit. Minimizing data usage, as well as letting a user set up how much to allow by turning off certain features, helps users control their data allowance.
While the sound settings on videos may be a welcome feature for many users, it is at the cost of users' ability to disable video autoplay, reports TheNextWeb.
This is likely a step toward advertising, the news site's Jon Russell wrote. Instagram said earlier in October that it will begin serving in-feed advertising before the end of the year. The updates are likely a precursor to such advertising, setting up a path toward monetization that disabled video autorun might hamper.
"The option is taken out by a seemingly minor update to the app that covers 'performance updates and other improvements,' but lists no specific changes. Following the update, users who did not allow videos to pre-load in their feed are left only with a choice to always allow pre-play or restrict it to when they are on Wi-Fi connections only - presumably because of the data charges/usage that auto-playing videos can incur," Russell wrote.