Instagram has boxed its users into a corner, up until now. The mobile media sharing platform now supports images and videos captured in landscape and portrait format.

It's like 2009 all over again, the year standard definition died and widescreen went widespread, and for Instagram's roughly 300 million users, it's a big deal.

"Square format has been and always will be part of who we are," Instagram said in a blogpost. "That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to."

About one in five Instagram photos aren't square, Instagram stated. People started taking box cutters to their photos, so to say, using cropping tools to make their square photos rectangular and hip.

"Now, when choosing a photo or video, you can tap the format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape instead of square," said Instagram. "Once you share the photo, the full-sized version of it will appear to all of your followers in feed in a beautiful, natural way." 

To maintain its squared-grid layout, Instagram will box crop previews of rectangular images.

Thinking outside of the box could prove to be just as popular among advertisers as it's poised to be among consumers. Last June, Instagram announced that it was expanding its advertising tools and support through three new initiatives.

We will focus on "expanding ad offerings to include action-oriented formats, enabling more targeting capabilities, and making it easier for businesses large and small to buy ads on Instagram," said Instagram in June.

Back in July, Instagram announced that it was switching up its search architecture from Elasticsearch to Unicorn, the same search server its parent company uses.

"When it makes sense, we leverage resources to leapfrog into experiences that have taken Facebook ten years to build," said Instagram. 

Research firm eMarketer projects that Instagram will have accumulated about $595 million mobile ad revenues by the end of the year. Those revenues will swell to $2.81 billion by 2017, the firm forecasts. 

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Tags: Instagram