Instagram, the Facebook-owned image sharing service, has released a new app for Android and iOS called Boomerang that lets users capture a short burst of images and then stitches them into a short, looping video clip that plays forwards and backwards. So, like, a gif? Yep, except that, you know, Boomerangs play forwards and backwards (and then forwards again, and backwards again, ad infinitum).
Boomerang is the fourth app from the Instagram stable, and the second aimed at capturing things on the move. Hyperlapse, the company’s excellent time-lapse-like app, uses your smart device’s accelerometers to compensate for shake and create astoundingly smooth footage. Instagram’s other app is Layout, a collage creation app.
Unlike Hyperlapse or Layout, though, Boomerang launched on both Android and iOS. Layout was only available on iOS at first and Hyperlapse is still only available for Apple devices.
As is Instagram’s way, Boomerang was announced on the company’s blog, along with some suggestions of potential uses for it: “Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again.”
Google Photos already automatically stitches related images together into gifs (though they only play forwards) and Apple’s new Live Photos feature produces similar, unidirectional results. Nonetheless, we’re all for Instagram trying new things, even if it means existing apps like Phhhoto — which does pretty much exactly the same thing — are going to suffer for it. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the game.