Instagram may be about to make the biggest change ever to your experience with the app soon, in the hope that you'll stop obsessing so much over how many likes your Coachella posts and #foodpix get.
During Facebook's annual F8 software developer conference in San Jose, California, today, Instagram's top executive Adam Mosseri explained that the photo-sharing service is going to start a test later this week that hides the number of likes on each post from other users. The goal, he explained, is to make Instagram feel less "like a competition."
The testing is going to happen in Canada ahead of presumably a wider rollout, depending on how it's received there. As part of the test, should you happen to be among the participants, users scrolling through your feed would see only your posts and no indication of many users "liked" them. And while only you would still see who all clicked like on your posts, you wouldn't see the actual number. You'd have to add up all the likes. Also, Instagram seems to be testing the possibility of hiding the number of likes from the post creator as well, and giving them the opportunity to see the likes only if they want to.
To say this is a major change for the service, which is wildly popular among young people as well as young adults, would be an understatement. It certainly seems to herald a shift in influencer culture, where the number of likes on a post is a currency that's literally worth its weight in money, leading to brand deals and sponsorships for many of the Insta-famous set.
Word of the change also comes as Instagram is rolling out new tools and efforts to crack down on bullying, in addition to turning the service into more of a revenue-generating e-commerce hub for Instagram and its parent company, Facebook.
Instagram also announced today, via a company blog post, that starting next week, "you can shop inspiring looks from the creators you love without leaving Instagram. Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or Direct, you can simply tap to see exactly what your favorite creators are wearing and buy it on the spot."
All that said, a major new era in the story of Instagram -- which in recent months lost its two co-founders who left abruptly over differences with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- is about to begin. The rosy view here, in my opinion, is that if this Instagram test does turn into a wider feature, it would probably be a good thing -- for users, for the company, for everyone, really, who's constantly obsessing over the Instagram metrics that offer a skewed assessment of their supposed popularity.
Electric vehicles might very well be the future, with nearly ever major automaker at least dabbling in fully electric cars and some of them betting big on the end of gas-guzzling cars entirely, but we're not there yet. An automotive revolution takes time, and people tend to look back on classic cars and trucks with near fanatical fondness.
A company called Zero Labs Automotive has been doing its best to combine the two, marrying classic designs with all-electric technology. Its first big project is the production of a "new" electric Ford Bronco, complete with the body of the now-retro truck sitting atop all new guts, and boy does it look awesome.
Gutting an old Bronco of its gas-burning motor and replacing it with a new electric powertrain is already a bold departure from what the vehicles were originally designed to be, but these reborn Fords will pull more than their fair share of weight. Zero Labs promises as much as 440 horsepower and a range of 190 miles from the truck's electric upgrades.
Final specifications are still being hashed out, but Zero Labs says it's using over 1,000 totally redesigned parts for each restoration. The fact that these vehicles are being treated as restorations is also very important, since no company besides Ford would have the right to actually reproduce a classic Bronco and stick a Ford badge on it. The donor vehicles are registered with the DMV and will have to pass inspection after being completed, allowing them to retain their original branding.
There's definitely something about the old Ford Broncos that tugs at the heartstrings of classic auto fans. It's big, boxy, and purely utilitarian, but it's also incredibly charming in its own way. It makes sense that Zero Labs would choose it as their first project, but if you want to get your hands on the all-electric version you're going to need to get lucky.
Because of the nature of these restorations only a limited number can be produced at one time, by law. Just 150 of these reimagined classics will hit the road, and we don't know anything about pricing yet. Zero Labs is already taking reservations, however, through a no-money-down application process.