Introduced in late October 2015, Boomerang from Instagram is the latest effort from the developers behind the wildly popular filtered photo and video service. Offered as a separate downloadable app from the Google Play Store, the Android client lets users create short 1-second clips that dance between animated gifs and video.


If you’re an existing Instagram user, Boomerang will be a rather intuitive app to setup and use. The menus and layout are similar to the standalone Instagram app and the start-to-finish process only takes a few steps.

For those wondering, no, you do not need to be a registered Instagram user or have an account to enjoy the benefits of Boomerang. Indeed, you can export and share your creations to other apps, social media, services, and more. Don’t want to share the clip publicly? Send it via email or upload it to Dropbox. Whatever, it’s up to you.

Getting Started

Upon opening Boomerang you’ll be given a couple of splash screens to welcome you and outline the app. Once you skip through these you’ll be ready to start creating you first clips.

By default the front-facing camera will be activated and you’ll find a little white “record” button at the bottom center. It’s almost exactly like what you’d find in the Snapchat layout. To the right of that button is the icon to toggle to the rear camera.

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Ready to create? Simply press the record button once and you’ll see the screen flicker quickly, somewhat like a camera shutter. This only lasts for about one full second so be ready!

After capturing the images, Instagram stitches it together immediately and offers up the final product. Not a fan of the end result? Hit the back button and start again.

Ready to Share

Like the clip and want to share it with others? The bottom screen will give you quick hand-off icons to go directly to Instagram or Facebook. Tap Instagram, for instance, and you’re able to pick filters and upload straight away.

To the right of those buttons is a more generic “more” option which utilizes one of Android’s most beneficial features. Tapping this brings up a whole host of destinations, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Photos, and YouTube.

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We found that the average file size came out to about 7MB for the first few clips we created.

Wrap-Up

Boomerang from Instagram is a handy, albeit unnecessary, app for creating short animations. We’ve enjoyed this one in the first few days and see some potential for how we’d utilize it down the road. If you’ve got kids or pets, or find yourself at a party, this one could be quite fun. Heck, there’s hardly any situation where we couldn’t find something cool to do with it.

Instagram has already been collecting and sharing some of the Boomerang clips it likes. If you want to check them out, look for the Weekend Hashtag Project.

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