exciting developments android instagramSXSWi, the interactive part of the annual event known as South by Southwest, got underway on March 9 and judging from all the coverage, it has been a heck of an experience to say the least. As you may know, the interactive portion is much more than fun and games. It is also an affair that offers some tremendous business and networking opportunities. Without further ado, here is an overview of the SXSWi developments marketers are likely to find the most interesting.

Instagram for Android

Instagram, an app that originally debuted last year on the iPhone, was unveiled at SXSWi in a version for the rival Android platform. The app works by turning the user’s smartphone into a mobile photographer of sorts by allowing it to easily snap, filter, and share photos with friends via the social web. Instagram reportedly has more than 150 million users and made such an impact, that it was awarded with the 2011 iPhone App of the Year honor. Marketers may be happy to know that the creators are said to have a version for the Windows Phone in the works for a future release.

Google+ Still Alive

Google+ hit the ground running in 2011, but despite a fast start, it wasn’t long before growth started to slow down, and critics began to question its long-term viability. The bulk of the criticism was aimed at a lack of uniqueness that would make people want to use it on a regular basis over familiar social tools like Facebook and Twitter. Even after the launch of the long waited brand pages, which did renew interest from the public, there was still talk about the social network failing to maintain relevance. If you have been wondering whether Google+ is worth your time, Vic Gundotra used SXSWi to assure everyone that the social platform is alive and well. He said the site is currently averaging 50 million users per day and roughly 100 million per month.

Highlight Steals the Show

No pun intended (well sort of), but Highlight is being touted as the highlight of SXSWi. Developed for the iPhone, Highlight is an app that strives to change the way people meet. When you are physically in the vicinity of people you are connected with, be it a friend, business associate, or someone who simply lives in the same city, Highlight sends an alert letting you know they are nearby. There are obviously privacy concerns, but users can decide whether they want to share their information with the app by opting in. Location-based giant Foursquare was among the spectators giving high praise to Highlight.

SXSWi is traditionally known to have at least a few exciting developments that are of interest to marketers, and the 2012 event has proven to be no exception in that regard. You can bet that savvy professionals will be keeping up with the coverage and reacting accordingly to gain an edge in their market.