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Instagram mimics Facebook, finally creates Web profiles

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It looks like Facebook is assimilating Instagram.

Instagram has finally added the option to view profiles from its website, and the profiles look just like those of its parent company Facebook.

Web profiles have long been a common request by the 100-million-strong community. Instagram’s given in to popular demand, giving users a Facebook-style header photo, which is generated from a random selection of your photos.

Photo via Instagram blog

The profile gives users the opportunity to view more than one photo from a user at a time, but other than that, not much has changed. Users have been able to follow others, like, and comment from the Instagram website since June. There is still no search function or a way to browse photos by hashtag, and Photo Maps aren’t available as yet.

Unlike Instagram’s mobile app, the website doesn’t offer a feed of photos from everyone you’re following, and there’s still no way to post photos from the website. The latter is not likely to happen, given Instagram’s focus on mobile photography.

If you have set your profile to private, only people who follow you will be able to see your profile on the website, and they need to be logged in to do so.

On a practical level, the move to Web profiles affords Instagram more of an opportunity to actually start making money off the service. Displaying ads on a website is much easier than cramming them into a 4-inch smartphone screen.

As cofounder Kevin Systrom noted at a conference Monday, his company’s becoming more focused on discovery and curation. This update will go some way towards helping that, while also cutting down the impact of third-party Web tools like Webstagram and Statigram.

Instagram’s gradually making Web profiles available over the next few days. To view yours, visit instagram.com/[your username].

Photo by @atvlobos/Instagram