There are plenty of third-party sites which add to the Instagram experience. So far, though, there is no official Instagram portal or app for web or desktop with the functionality of the iPhone app.

Carousel, a new app from Mobelux, brings a lot of the Instagram app’s functionality to the Mac OS and is a simple way to explore, like and comment Instagram pics on your Mac.

“We made Carousel because we wanted a simple, beautiful way to browse Instagram on the desktop in a minimal footprint. We’ve implemented a full set set of keyboard commands to make operation flawless and four wonderful themes to personalize Carousel to your liking,” writes Mobelux on their website.

Carousel is lightweight, solid and easy to use. From your desktop, you can view your feed, popular photos and photos you’ve posted. You can see likes and comments on your photos with the ability to moderate comments, as well as like and comment on photos in other’s photostreams. One of the cool things about Carousel is it allows you to do all this with your mouse and a full-size keyboard. Typing longer comments, for instance, can be tedious one tap at a time on an iPhone’s keyboard.

One of the more requested features in Instagram is the ability to easily save photos to your desktop. Carousel lets you view photos in all streams in full Instagram resolution of 612×612 and lets you save any photo to your desktop. Want to see the image on the Instagram page? Option-Command-B opens it up in a broswer. You can copy a photo’s URL, but that doesn’t take you to the Instagram page of the pic — it takes you to the photo itself. I’m not sure how long Instagram will leave that loophole open.

When an image is geo-tagged, you can click on the location to see all images tagged with that location — one of our favorite features of the Instagram network.

The current version 1.0.2 doesn’t have all of Instagram’s functionality. For instance, you can’t upload images to your Instagram account. Currently, Instagram only allows photo uploads from the official Instagram iPhone app. Some users may have copyright concerns with with Carousel’s ability to save *any* photo from Instagram. There’s no way to search for specific users and finding a specific user’s photostream is hit-or-miss. There currently is no Windows version of the app.

Unlike Instagram, Carousel isn’t free. It’s $4.99 in the Mac App Store. But Carousel is smooth, easy to use and brings a lot of the Instagram experience to the Mac desktop, allowing you to perform many of Instagram’s features with the convenience of a mouse or trackpad and a full-size keyboard.

Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or later. A 15 day trial version is available on the Carousel website.

Carousel - Mobelux, LLC