Instagram has been a star in the app world. It has a really large customer-base, even though it was available only for iOS devices until last week when it was launched for Android too. We also featured in another post about the best smartphone apps. It is a useful, handy and great app for every other smartphone-user who wants to touch-up/edit a photo quickly and upload it to the network instantly. It has a network of its own too, where people like and comment on photos. This free and wonderful service has now been declared sold; by Facebook.
Facebook has had a lot of changes in its photo-sharing/storing feature in the last year. Last year it added the support for hi-res photos and just last week it added a full-screen viewing feature. But with this deal they are bound to go a lot further than just uploading, viewing and liking/commenting on photos. With the powerful effects/filters of Instagram, they should now be able to provide users the ability to edit and post the apps on the go in Facebook itself. Mark Zuckerberg himself wrote about the deal on his Facebook page and also wrote that he is looking forward to work with their team. This is the whole post -
I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.
For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.
We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.
These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.
This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.
We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.
But he has also added that they are committed to grow the service independently and also try to spread the app even further. This should indicate that the app would be available on several other platforms too. But Instagram has a brand and identity of its own and the photos shared through the app are always unique and feel special. If the service is ported to other platforms such as normal PCs, then Instagram will lose its brand value and will be reduced to just another online photo-editor. Zuckerberg’s words also indicate that they will keep the existing features such as posting to other social websites, not posting certain pics to Facebook etc. He also mentioned that this is an important milestone for Facebook as they have acquired a product and company with so many users. The current user-count for the app stands at 30-million, counting only the iOS users.
Even though this is a big deal for Facebook, it would not mean any real change for millions of Facebook users. They will still be able to upload pics with/without Instagram, though advanced editing features of the app may be integrated into Facebook. This would be particularly useful to users of Windows Phone, Blackberry, Symbian and other mobile platforms which already have popular Facebook apps.
The deal was finalised for I billion dollars, which is by far the costliest deal by Facebook. As reported by NYTimes, Mr. Zuckerberg was interested in buying Instagram since early 2011 when he reached out to Mr. Systrom for possible deals. But Mr. Systrom had denied any such thought and chose to keep it independent. But now with the increasing level of penetration of social websites (especially Facebook), they need to find newer markets on the mobile platforms. Facebook bought Gowalla late last year for its location-based services.