In spite of being valued at one billion dollars by Facebook, finding a specific photo on Instagram can be frustratingly difficult. It seems like a minor problem, but for a service that is as popular as it is, it should be remedied. Instead of waiting around for an in-house solution, Austrian-Californian startup Soup.me is looking to solve the problem, and others like it, on its own.
The company is rolling out a feature today that takes advantage of the Instagram API, which displays all of the images you’ve taken with Instagram and overlays that onto two different interfaces. The first is organizing the photos by color, which has limited potential. The second, though, is far more useful: a map overlay.
Once you’ve connected Instagram with Soup.me, you can view all of your Instagram photos with a map interface intertwined. While I’m not a heavy Instagram user compared to others, this screenshot of my personal interface does show the usefulness of the product.
Normally, I would have had to go through my entire Instagram feed to find the photos taken during a particular trip or on a particular day. Instead, I can quickly see my recent trip to Austin, see which photos I’ve taken, and see where and when they were taken. This problem is amplified for the heaviest users of Instagram.
Instagram integration is only the beginning for the company, though, as Soup.me has the end goal of being the one place you stop to view all of your digital content, and the page your friends go visit to get caught up on what you’ve been doing. If the idea of a personal destination site sounds like old news, it is from a historical standpoint. Looking at Soup.me in particular, though, it’s clear that the attention to detail on each individual service puts it far ahead of other social hubs like About.me.
The value of this won’t be fully realized by most people until the company launches more features. According to the company, the team is hard at work improving on each of the future integrations. In the future, it isn’t hard to imagine how useful it will be to have the Instagram service joined by Foursquare checkins, Tweets, and status updates all on one map and accompanied by a timeline. That is something of distinct value for people that spend a lot of time on social networks.
There are risks for the company, though, with services that don’t have fully open APIs, like Google+. If these services increase in popularity without open APIs, it could leave holes in Soup.me’s future offerings.
In addition, Soup.me doesn’t support uploading content at this point, and it is hard to see it being able to do that reliably across services anytime soon. Uploading content is something that companies like Google and Instagram take seriously, and partnering is done on a case-by-case basis. With this part being left out, users likely won’t be returning every single day.
Despite the risks, though, the company is offering something of value to people. The concept was formed after the co-founders created a different startup, Soup.io, which was an early Tumblr competitor. Seeing how that service was being used, the team decided that this new product would be even more useful for people.
Moving forward, the team is looking to implement visualizations of many different services while improving the product. To begin with, they’re going to continue to polish the service. Then they’re going to implement creative visualizations of content from various video services like YouTube and Vimeo, check-ins from Foursquare, and status updates. (For a better idea, you can watch this YouTube video demoing future products.)
When the team moves from Austria to San Francisco later this summer, they will be entirely focused on building out the product. More importantly, the team will be able to build relationships with the companies that are hosting the data that makes Soup.me run. Combined with the $530,00 in funding that the company raised earlier this year, it will likely have the effect of speeding up the release of new features and integrations throughout the year.