I’ve been seeing a lot of backlash being hurled at Instagram for the latest 3.0 update, even some going so far as to try to organize an Instagram blackout on August 30th (sigh). Most of the upset users seem to be furious at the implementation of Photo Maps. I really don’t understand what’s up with all the hate, as I think the Photo Maps can only be a good thing no matter how you look at it. I think it may be misunderstood. Here’s how it looks from the various viewpoints I can see:
People who want their geotag information shared
Obviously these people are going to love the photo map, as it’s a great new way to see where all of your geotagged photos have been taken. I’ve found it to be quite smooth, attractive and user-friendly. It’s a really fun way to browse my photos as an alternative to the linear feed. The map graphics sometimes take a few extra seconds to load after zooming in, but I’m sure all the wrinkles will be ironed out soon.
People who think geotags are cool but don’t want all of their locations shared
I personally fall into this camp. I’ve loved the idea of geotags since I first heard about them, but I’ve been wary of sharing location information with strangers. Because of this, I avoided geotagging my photos in Instagram for a long time, but a few months ago I decided to start geotagging any photos that weren’t taken at mine or my friend’s homes. This way I can still see where I’ve been on vacation in a really fun way, but I’m not sharing information about my exact whereabouts with anyone. I’m also able to view photos that others have taken in the same locations as the ones I’ve uploaded, which I find really neat.
Instagram 3.0 not only gives me the slick new map, but it also gave me the option to remove the geotag data from the one photo I accidentally tagged at home.
People who are creeped out by geotags and worried about being stalked online
While perhaps extreme, this is a legitimate fear that many people have. This also seems to be the group of people up in arms about Photo Maps. But surprisingly, these are the people for whom I think the new Photo Map feature is the most helpful. I’m guessing these people weren’t aware that their locations were being uploaded with their photos whenever they posted (even though there was a switch for location data on the upload screen). They log in to the new IG 3.0 and are horrified to find a map with the majority of photos showing the world exactly where they live. They proceed to panic, remove all location data, and whine at Instagram about it.
Well, here’s the thing. Your location data was ALWAYS THERE. You decided to upload it along with all of those photos you posted. If someone wanted to stalk you before version 3.0, they could have easily looked at the location data from any of those photos you took at home. Granted, it’s easier to view with the new update, but here’s where Instagram helped you out: they gave you the option to remove any location data you may have mistakenly posted. And as far as I can tell, that’s the first time you’ve been able to permanently delete location data from your photos on Instagram. They even made it super easy to remove location data from the photos taken at specific places, as they’ve grouped the locations together in the review screen. This is a really good thing. If you’ve been wary of sharing location data, Instagram just showed you that you’ve been accidentally sharing it with the world and is now giving you the option to remove it.
So yeah, I don’t see why people are so upset about this. Granted, there are other updates to the app, and I can see not loving the new three-across layout or the borders, but infinite scrolling and finally being able to link to a photo without tweeting it and deleting the tweet first? Seriously I think this is a great update!