October 25, 2012
Imgur launched almost four years ago as an image service primarily directed toward Reddit users. Today, it is one of the top 50 most heavily visited sites on the internet and exceeds five petabytes of data traffic each month. With a higher traffic rate than the site it was launched to support (Reddit), Imgur has come a long way. However, its creator, Alan Schaaf, wants to evolve the service beyond a traditional image hosting site to become a full social networking platform, according to Forbes.
The site recently revealed a new homepage GUI design that will take it beyond its current uses and incorporate discovery and engagement tools that drive social networking. While this is a shift away from the simplistic design that made the site so incredibly popular so quickly, according to Forbes, it may open up new doors and opportunities.
The new site seems to be a mix of Instagram and Pinterest, allowing users to post images they find or create as it used to, but with the underlying social aspects these other two sites have also recently begun developing. The new site will incorporate data-based algorithms for measuring views, votes and sharing, while adding new sections for popular images and a reputation system for rewarding valued contributors.
While Flickr, Instagram and other image sharing websites focus on posting original work, Imgur is more for the internet-based culture, sharing memes, funny cat photos and the viral sort of imagery that has become so popular across the web. The new web UI design brings out new aspects of the site, however, emphasizing the current platform but bringing out communication and connectivity that wasn't in the forefront before.
These aspects and other factors will help transform Imgur from an image sharing portal into a full-fledged social networking site next week when the design launches. They could make Imgur much more popular than it already is, according to Forbes. With new ways to interact with the site design, find entertainment and connect with other users, Imgur is providing its fanbase with another way to interact, while still maintaining what brought them to the site in the first place.