Instagram is one of those early adopter favorites that quickly crossed the chasm to more mainstream users, at least within my social network. Take that popularity, mix it with an apparent desire to buy shirts, and it was inevitable that someone would use the Instagram API to create wearable mashups. In fact, there are at least three such services, each with its own twist.
InstaShirt may very well have the best name. It also may have been the one to start the trend. As you can see in our InstaShirt mashup profile, we named it Mashup of the Day back in June. InstaShirt is also a pure mashup, because it uses the Zazzle API to create the shirt, which means the developer is simply a middleman.
Insteegram, on the other hand, appears to do the printing themselves using “water based, environmentally friendly inks… [with] a very soft layer of ink that you can barely feel with your hand.” And its name comes in a close second, but the “tee” is just a little too subtle.
Friendsshirt takes a completely different approach than the other two. It uses multiple photos to create a collage in several pre-defined patterns. And if you don’t have enough Instagram photos, it will happily connect to the Facebook API to use your friends’ profile pics for the collage.
As silly as you might think these mashups are, they’re part of a trend where APIs are able to make things happen in the real world. For example, did you know there are four APIs to send hand-written letters? As we wrote in November, those can help take the e out of email.