April 9, 2012

Facebook Acquires Instagram: What we can Expect

Mark Zuckerberg posted under an hour ago that Facebook is acquiring Instagram, the incredibly popular photo sharing app. His statement is copied below:

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.

Here are my top predictions:

  1. Facebook will increasingly push its mobile strategy, with a focus on making photo sharing even simpler. Most newsfeed items published are graphical in nature, so we can expect things like one click instant photo uploads from your cell phone.
  2. With Instagram’s effect filters integrated into Facebook photos, we can expect a much higher increase of the (often nauseating) effects added to profile pictures and other photos. Hopefully this won’t be driven into the ground as everyone begins pretending to be a vintage 70’s photographer.
  3. There may be a move to see popular content in my area that may be outside of my network – leading to a way to discover events around me, and even meet new people in my area based on shared interest through photos and videos
  4. An interesting point to note is that Mark mentioned that Facebook will be developing Instagram independently. To date, they have absorbed all of their acquisitions into their Facebook products, or simply killed them off in order to hire the staff. With Facebook approaching maturity, this is a wise move on their part as it diversifies their product line without causing a conflict of interest to themselves.
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