Each web profile, which you can get to by visiting "instagram.com/[username]," features a mosaic-style splash of seven constantly changing photos, along with your profile photo and bio, and the rest of your photos are arranged in a chronological grid.
But for now, the new profiles lack a lot of the functionality that would suggest Instagram wants a robust web platform. Two big missing features: search and the ability to upload photos directly to the web. Third-party developers such as Gramfeed or Webstagram already offer some of these features, as well as others including the ability to sort through photo tags.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tells TechCrunch more web functionality will come in the future, but it's unclear whether the ability to upload photos via the web—which isn't supported in the new web profiles—will be one of them. Because at the core of the Instagram experience is the feeling of stepping into others' lives in real-time, as they upload their photos. And a mobile-only platform has been an integral part of that experience. Save for the occasional #latergram upload, you can be sure the moments captured in the photos in your feed are happening at that very second. It's what makes photo consumption on Instagram very different from viewing Facebook photo albums, which are often full of retrospective snapshots from an event that's already happened.
Instagram says web profiles will roll out to all users by the end of the week.
[Image: Flickr user BigTallGuy]