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Updated: March 19, 2012 07:58 IST

Extragram hopes to be to Instagram what Tweetdeck is to Twitter

Karthik Subramanian
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Team Extragram: (From right) Kevin William David, Narayanan Hariharan, Sonaal Bangera, M.K.Karthikeyan and Ilaya Basu. Photo: Special Arrangement
Team Extragram: (From right) Kevin William David, Narayanan Hariharan, Sonaal Bangera, M.K.Karthikeyan and Ilaya Basu. Photo: Special Arrangement

Five youngsters from Chennai, who developed a sleek web application called Extragram for popular iPhone photo-sharing application Instagram, are betting big on its future.

Just a few days ago, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom announced that the popular photo-filtering-sharing service would be available soon for the Android platform. With over 25 million users worldwide, the service is on the way to become for photo-sharing what Twitter has come to be for micro-blogging: the definitive platform on mobile phones. There have been other similar photo-sharing services on mobile, but Instagram scores high on the filters it makes available for its users.

This could just be the windfall moment the Extragram team had been waiting for. Leading technology blogs, including the likes of Mashable and AppStorm, have already praised the web application for the way it renders it in a very user-friendly interface. It allows users to login to their Instagram accounts via a PC Web browser and comment and rate photos and follow up on other users.

The team now hopes to do for Instagram what Tweetdeck did for Twitter.

Make it the ‘go to app' for Instagrammers.

The co-founders of Extragram are from two small companies in Chennai — Effect Works and ByteAlly. The team of Narayanan Hariharan and Sonaal Bangera (Effect Works); and M.K. Karthikeyan, Ilaya Basu and Kevin William David (ByteAlly) combined their strengths in design and coding to bring out Extragram in April 2011.

Narayanan said the idea to develop something for Instagram, after the company had put out its API, came from “Apple aficionado” Sonaal. “He was a photographer and a heavy iPhone user. But my initial response was to just brush it aside.”

But he did give it a serious thought when they found out that Instagram was going viral, reaching two million users in four months and adding 1,30,000 users a week.

While Narayanan and Sonaal brought their user-interface design skills to the table (Effect Works is essentially into presentation design and user experience design), they needed a team of developers to code their product. That is where Karthikeyan, Ilayabasu and Kevin pitched in. The team worked after hours and spent out of their pockets to develop Extragram.

Within the first few days of the launch, the response was “tremendous.” So much so that the server they were hosting on crashed. “Perhaps, the only time one can be happy that it happens,” they said.

Robert Scoble, leading technology evangelist-writer, gave the service the thumbs up on his twitter account, and kudos came from all corners — from Mashable to Life Hacker (Japan) to AppStorm.

An upcoming Extragram re-design, which the team showed to this correspondent, features some ambitious upgrades, including third-party advertising on site.

The experience has allowed the ByteAlly team to graduate from being a services company to a products company. And Effect Works is planning to bring out more Apps.

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Bad product. If they try to scale, they will end up copying Instagram. Lacks vision and innovation. Hindu should cover original ideas because since they got 15 minutes of fame, these guys are going to end up wasting next 5 years of their lives. I bet all those writing positive comments are friends of the dev team.

from:  Ashwin Raina
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 19:07 IST

Creation of a web clients for business systems that are previously non-web i.e
standalone DOS/Windows/Mac/Mainframe based is something that Indian software
professionals always had a niche from rest of the world. Reverse Engineering is a
dynamic field that our youth always had a cutting edge. It is good to work for
exciting public web clients like this and look out for possible rebase this expertise
for domestic usage.

from:  rao s. thotakura
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 06:55 IST

@Karthik Subramanian: Let me try to get a bit more objective, and explicate why I think this is sheer adverting and does not deserve news coverage on a national platform.1. With over 500,000 iphone apps (src: www.apple.com), a major chunk of these built by Indians, including Chennai(read IITM), there is nothing special about this one. 2. There is nothing innovative about it, no amazing idea that they came up with. It's just a mobile platform for a web based service. 3. With so many startups being launched in the market, many of them actually worthy of news space, it's strange how a simple app got preference over them. 4. Ten comments in a row praising the app. No suggestions, reviews, improvement ideas or criticism. Looks fishy!

from:  Jayaraj Alavelli
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 00:28 IST

@Jayaraj Alavelli: Just how easy it is for a reader to say "paid news".
But the comment was approved in the spirit of the Web. The team behind
Extragram was featured because they are a group of guys from Chennai,
who have put out a neat App that has received good reviews from
acclaimed tech blogs. You are most welcome to suggest better services/
startups locally.

from:  Karthik Subramanian
Posted on: Mar 20, 2012 at 23:29 IST

though not a big idea but the usability is high and that makes me
feel good and it also reflects the awakening of Indian developers
towards product development instead of regular IT jobs.

from:  vaibhav
Posted on: Mar 20, 2012 at 22:13 IST

Paid News! All they have written is a wrapper around a web application.
Hundreds of such apps are built everyday. Seriously does not deserve
news coverage on national newspaper.

from:  Jayaraj Alavelli
Posted on: Mar 20, 2012 at 18:29 IST

Congrats to the whole team for collaborative work. Kudos to EffectWorks...

from:  Bhaskar Kanchi
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 23:34 IST

Amazing. Wish you a lot of success. I hope to get inspired by this and do something on my own. India's time is coming. Feels wonderful to be so close to experiencing what pre 2001 must have been like in the bay area.

from:  Pravin
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 23:13 IST

Congratulations!!! Great going.. look forward to more apps ...

from:  Siddhesh Sawant
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 22:41 IST

Congratulations and Good Luck for future Apps.
T.S. Suresh, Hema, Vinod and Shweta

from:  t s suresh
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 21:32 IST

Congrats Boys.............
Keep it up.

from:  Arun Pachauri
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 21:00 IST

This is great news! Kudos to the team and this great app!

from:  Naren V
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 19:55 IST

congratulations FOR your hard work.Best luck for future
life.JAIGINDH.

from:  prasanth
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 17:02 IST

congratulations your hard work.Best luck for future life.JAIGINDH.

from:  prasanth
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 17:01 IST

Congrats Team - Satish

from:  Satish chandar
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 11:36 IST

Well done !

from:  Anurag shukla
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 10:56 IST
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