Instagram Takes Another Swing at Vine with Embed Codes

Instagram is finally offering an embed code for users to share public photos and videos on third-party sites.

The battle for mobile video supremacy rages on: Instagram on Wednesday finally made it possible for users to easily embed photos and videos on their own websites.

Instagram's new embed code
Instagram's new embed code lets you share photos and videos as easily as Vines.

Easily is the key word there. Workarounds already existed for embedding Instagram photos and videos, but they were really too much effort to share content that is designed to be shared.

Instagram is now offering an embed code on desktop browsers that lets you share your photos and videos (look for the button under the comments). The company in a Wednesday blog post said it wants to ensure that your content is clearly attached to your account, so the embedded photo or video will display your Instagram username and link to your account.

What if your account is private? Well, no one will be able to share your photos or videos until you change your settings. Instagram has an all-or-nothing approach to privacy, so you can't pick and choose which photos you want to share with the world and which you can share only with friends. (Customizable privacy settings would be nice, Instagram. Just sayin'.)

Adding an embed code is such a small change, but it better positions Instagram to compete with Vine and its parent company, Twitter. Vines were already easily shareable, not just within the app but across the Internet, because of the embed code. Twitter also offers embed codes for tweets, while Facebook (which owns Instagram) does not let users easily share their posts on third-party sites.

The new feature is especially useful for news organizations that have already been embedding tweets and Vines but have had no way to share Instagram photos and videos of breaking events.

Vine and Instagram have volleyed back and forth in the weeks since Instagram introduced its own social video product. Vine recently added a handful of new features in the wake of Instagram's 15-second video launch, with plans to add even more in the coming weeks. If both companies continue to improve their apps in an effort to woo users, well, no complaints here.

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