With the recent acquisition of app developer Instagram by Facebook, it's hard not to think of its namesake photo-sharing app as anything but a tool for teens beaming snapshots of latte-lapping to their social networks.
But after speaking with phone-company field workers, for example, who find themselves in every manner of back-woods outhouse looking for the network interface, the value of a location snapshot cannot be understated. A free app for iPhone and Android, Instagram adds several useful features to Android's already capable camera app.
Leaving its fancy borders and filtering effects to the shutterbugs, Instagram's real value for the time-strapped field worker comes in its ability to quickly distribute those photos to colleagues who might otherwise fall into an old abandoned mine shaft.
Once a photo is taken, effects buttons appear for making quick adjustments to brightness, color levels and orientation, each with real-time preview. Then it presents check boxes for posting to Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr and/or Twitter (Flickr is coming), and whether to include geolocation data. While Android ICS camera is pretty good, Instagram has an edge for quick editing and if posting to more than one location is desired. Updated this week to version 1.0.5, Instagram works with Android 2.2 and higher.