There are a lot of apps out there that will let you take or choose a photo, filter it with some cool effects, and then send it to the ‘net, but let’s face it — only a few of them do it well. Instagram has been a bit hit, but its recent acquisition by Facebook seems to have left many feeling like it’s gone way too mainstream. Which means it’s time to find the next big thing.
Enter Via.me. This iOS-only app is guaranteed to draw comparisons to Instagram, but that’s OK, because it’s all good news without any of the bad: It offers a similar photo-and-filters combo, it’s free, it makes it super easy to share via social media, and it even offers reformed Instagram users the ability to import all their photos through the Via.me website. And, most importantly, it’s fun to use. Click “more” to take a look.
First Comes Sharing
If you already know you want to make the switcheroo from Instagram to Via.me, rest assured — the process could not be simpler. Head to the Via.me website, where you’ll find a banner on the homepage specifically for Instagram users who want to import everything to Via.me. You’ll be prompted to sign up or log in to Via.me, then to log in to Instagram, and then Via.me does the rest. That’s it!
Alternatively, if you weren’t on the Instagram bandwagon, or just want to try Via.me first to see what it’s all about, your journey will begin when you open the app for the first time. Sign in either via Facebook or Twitter, and then you’re ready to start sharing your photos.
Here’s where former Instagrammers will notice things start to look a little … um … familiar. From left to right, you have your Feed, Explore, Select Photo, Activity and Profile tabs, with the Select Photo button prominently displayed in the center, of course. Clicking on the camera icon gives you the option to select a picture or video, an image from your photo library, or a sound.
Photos are the most popular for sharing. You can either take one right then, or select from your photo library one you’ve already taken. Then move or resize the image until you have it just so and click “Choose.” Now you’re granted access to Via.me’s (currently) 17 filters, each one named after a major city or geographic location. Swipe your finger back and forth to scroll through them and pick the one you like best.
Selecting “Next” gives you the opportunity to add a caption to your photo. The interface here, in my opinion, is very appealing — Via.me has made the caption area look like a notecard, with your image paperclipped to the righthand side. You’ll also find your posting options here, with simple “on”/”off” buttons for sharing on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a settings button, where you’ll need to sign into Twitter and/or Facebook the first time you want to link them to Via.me.
Then Comes Caring
Of course, when you’re not too busy sending your own photos to the worldwide web, you’ll want to see everyone else’s pictures, too. Go to your Feed to view your photos plus those of the Via.me users you’re following, and the Explore tab is the place to go when you want to view images that are trending on Via.me.
If you have friends who are already using Via.me, or want to find a Via.me user whom you’d like to follow, this can easily be done from your Profile tab. In the upper left corner, a plus sign calls up a “Find Friends” page, where you can search for a user, easily add users from Facebook or Twitter, or send an invitation via SMS or email. Below these options, Via.me also provides a randomly generated list of other Via.me users. Click on their names to view their feeds, or click on the heart to follow them.
Via.me is a well-designed photo-sharing app, particularly if you’re looking for a replacement for Instagram. With the ability to import all your photos from Instagram, plus the simple, five-tab layout and cool photo filters, Via.me is familiar without being boring.
For the uninitiated (read: if you weren’t an Instagram user), you will no doubt become somewhat addicted to how simple Via.me makes capturing and sharing gorgeous pics with friends and followers — it can be done in a matter of seconds. And the grid-like display of trending photos under the Explore tab will certainly appease fans of Pinterest.
As far as I’m concerned, the only real drawback to Via.me is that there aren’t more people using it — something that I doubt will be a problem for much longer.
Share pictures, video and audio clips with friends on Facebook or Twitter.10