Instagram, the Facebook-owned application with 700 million users, added a mobile web service to let people watch Instagram Stories outside of the app. The website Instagram.com, which used to be confined to looking at single user posts, shows stories at the top of a user feed, according to a blog post.
Instagram says its Stories feature, which ties multiple images into a single post, is used by more than 250 million people a day. The new mobile web service will be available to all users in the coming weeks. Users will be able to post stories from the mobile web in the coming months, the post said.
Separately, Instagram said hackers swiped phone numbers and email addresses for some of its verified accounts, which are typically dedicated to high-profile users like celebrities. The hackers exploited a bug in the app’s programming interface, which Instagram has fixed. A hacker is selling information from as many as 6 million user accounts that may have been obtained from the data breach for $10 a piece, Ars Technica reported.
Adding mobile web functionality to Instagram’s service is another way for the service to reach a wider group of users who may not want to download an app, which requires the extra steps of going to Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Mobile websites can be easily visited by a wider range of mobile devices, are easier to find with internet searches and allow for easier sharing of content.
The addition of Instagram Stories to the mobile web also supports Instagram's growth over archrival Snapchat, which first developed the idea of stringing together multiple photos and videos into a single, swipable post. Instagram Stories has grown its audience to 250 million users, dwarfing Snapchat's 166 million users, as disclosed in parent company Snap's last earnings report.
Still, apps are popular with users and are grabbing a greater share of user time. The average smartphone owner uses about 30 apps a month, and 10 per day, according to TechCrunch, which cites data from App Annie. Dating and productivity apps are opened most frequently, averaging four sessions a day. U.S. users spend an average of more than 2 hours and 15 minutes in apps each day.