Since its debut in 2010 as an iPhone application, Instagram has been one of the most-popular photo-sharing services around. Monday, that popularity paid off: Facebook announced it was buying the service for a cool $1 billion.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg saidhe planned to leave the service largely independent; users ofInstagram will be able to have separate lists of followers and friendson the two services, and they’ll still be able to share–or notshare–photos on social networks of their choice. Instagram usersalready had the option of posting their photos directly to Facebook.
Instead, he said, Facebook engineers will help strengthenInstagram–while learning from the newer service about features it canadd into its own products.
“We need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’sstrengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everythinginto Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook timeline. “That’s whywe’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently.”
Instagram (finally) for Android
Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, made the same point in hisown blog post. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram isnot going away,” he wrote, later adding: “The Instagram app will stillbe the same one you know and love.”
Instagram launched on the App Store in October 2010, andwithin a year had grown to 7 million users and 1.29 million sharedphotos a day. Because it was largely limited to taking, editing, andsharing photos directly from the iPhone, it gave birth to an ecosystemof related services like the Instaview Mac app that let people viewInstagram’s photos on their desktop computers.
Monday’s announcement comes a week after Instagram finallydebuted on Android phones,broadening the service’s reach beyond iOS users. The acquisition byFacebook could broaden Instagram’s usage even further, to socialnetwork users who don’t bother with smartphones.
“Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason whyso manypeople love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these twocompanies together,” Zuckerberg wrote.