A Facebook employee demonstrates Instagram's video product. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg )
SAN FRANCISCO -- Good news for skateboarding dogs everywhere: You can now embed Instagram videos and photos across the Web.
Last month when Instagram launched video to compete with Twitter's Vine, there was a collective groan. It lacked a key feature: the ability to embed videos elsewhere on the Web.
So, just to make their visual moments much more visible, crafty people came up with all kinds of complicated workarounds that were not supported by Instagram and could, of course, break at any time.
Instagram says it heard time and again impassioned pleas from users who didn't want to train as software engineers to embed their photos and videos. So starting Wednesday, you can share your favorite Instagram moments with the world as easily as with YouTube or other digitally forward services.
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A new share button will let you embed your Instagram videos and photos anywhere (except Twitter, naturally). And, of course, marketers can use this handy new button, too, a key selling point as Instagram looks to conquer the world of visual social sharing and start building a moneymaking business.
How it works: When you visit an Instagram photo or video page on your desktop Web browser, you'll see a new share button on the right side of your photo (just under the comments button). Click the button to see the embed code. Copy the block of text it gives you and paste it into your blog, website or article. When you hit publish, the photo or video will appear.
Instagram also says please don't worry: "As always, you own your photos and videos, and we want to make sure that's understood no matter where your content appears." (That's now a standard line in every Instagram announcement after this happened.)
The embedded photo or video appears with your Instagram user name. If people click on the Instagram logo, they'll be whisked to your Instagram page. And never fear, no one is going to be able to embed those photos or videos that you really should have done on Snapchat in the first place. Embedding works only for photos and videos that are public, not for private ones, Instagram says.
This kind of worldwide Web distribution should make it a lot easier for Justin Bieber to take over the rest of the known digital universe and for Paris Hilton to get even more people to gush over videos of her puppies.
It's also part of a major effort from Facebook not just to be in the moment but to capture the moment.
Whether it's the Boston Marathon bombings or the Oscars, Instagram is well positioned to do just that with images that can be quickly blasted across the Web and universally understood across all borders and language barriers.
Twitter has ruled the world of real time with its short messages that have telegraph breaking news as it happens, but it looks like Instagram could pose a serious threat to its real-time rule.