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Instagram expanding to the web

Instagram, the photo-sharing app that was created for mobile phones, is expanding to the internet.

The service will launch Instagram profiles on the web over the next few days. Previously, user profiles existed only on Instagram's mobile applications accessed on the iPhone or Android devices.

Now users will have a website with a profile photo, bio and a selection of the snapshots they've recently shared on Instagram.

Instragram, which is owned by Facebook, made its announcement in a blog post on Monday.

The layout of the web profiles is reminiscent of Facebook timelines, except with little text and no ads. Users will have a large cover image that's a collage of their old Instagram shots. Their profile photo is on the right side and their snapshots cascade down the page.

Facebook has insisted since it bought Instagram this year that it will keep it running as a separate service and that still appears to be the case. The Instagram web pages do not link to Facebook and do not ask users to log in using their Facebook accounts.

Instagram's privacy settings are like Twitter's. Users can either choose to be fully public, so that anyone can see and comment on their photos, or private, such that photos can be seen only to pre-approved followers. Unlike with Facebook's complex, granular privacy controls, there is nothing in between.

Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, agreed to buy Instagram in a deal valued at one billion US dollars in April, before its May initial public offering of stock. Upon closing on August 31, the deal was worth 715.3 million US dollars because of Facebook's fallen stock price.

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