In a relatively surprising move, Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that Facebook plans to buy photo-sharing site Instagram for $1 billion. (Did you really think they would go public just to make some cash?) Since it went live in October 2010, Instagram has garnered over 30 million users (most of whom are already on Facebook) and multiple “App of the Year” awards thanks to its ease of use and
hamster stylized photos. By joining forces with the largest social networking (and photo sharing!) website, it hopes to expand its user base and bask in share Facebook’s revenue.
So what’s in it for you?
Well, first off, you’re going to start seeing a lot more pictures on Facebook. While it takes smartphone users at least a minute to snap and upload a picture to an album nowadays, Instagram integration will likely allow fast uploading and sharing from iPhones and Android phones, which finally got access to the app last week. And even if Instagram isn’t rolled over into Photos and remains a separate app (like the newspaper social readers or Zynga games), you’ll still have hundreds of friends adding pictures more often than they do now. Just make sure those privacy settings are set up correctly.
Moreover, if you’ve sworn that “Instagram is for hepcats” or “Hipstamatic is way better anyways”, we’re sorry to say you won’t be able to hold on to those arguments much longer. Facebook integration means everyone who has a smartphone, a Facebook account, and a desire to take pictures will be using Instagram — and unfortunately not everyone knows how to take “artsy” pictures. (Does that mean Hipstamatic going to actually become the new hamster app and live up to its name??)
Let’s not forget the benefits though: Most users who already have Instagram are also posting their pictures to Facebook, so this tighter integration is definitely a plus. Despite altering/downgrading what could be high-quality pictures on their own, the app is also a lot of fun to use and enables you to tweak pictures to capture more than just a real life moment. In addition, the deal means Instagram will most likely remain free and ad-less, at least until companies have their own accounts to use for promotional purposes.
And if your name is already in for some of Facebook’s upcoming stock, congratulations. Go buy that new Rolls Royce all your friends at the country club have been rhapsodizing about.
Next week, we’ll talk about what we should’ve talked about this week: iSwag for your iPad.