Breaking News: Mega-social network Facebook has purchased mega-social photo network Instagram for $1 billion dollars in cash and stock.
It reads like an April Fool’s Day story that I might have posted a few days ago, but Mark Zuckerberg just posted the announcement on his timeline about an hour ago as of this writing.
“I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook….
“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.”
I have no inside information, but I don’t think that Facebook bought Instagram to kill it outright. Not even Facebook would want to piss of that many loyal users. Most of Instagram’s 27 million users already use Facebook, so I don’t think it was for Facebook to pick up a flood of new users — something it would acquire organically anyway. But I think the rapid growth of Instagram not only caught the attention of Facebook, but allegedly Twitter and Google as well. Facebook merely presented the first, best offer.
I also don’t think Instagram is in danger of becoming Facebook-Lite any time soon. Zuck writes “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.” It sounds like Facebook is going to let Instagram continue to be Instagram, at least for the time being.
With access to Facebook’s engineers and resources, over time I think that Instagram will continue to grow. I think soon we’ll see better Instagram updates and prblems and bugs addressed quicker on both iOS and Android platforms. Eventually, look for features of both platforms to find their way into each other. At this point, Instagram’s growth probably just got hypercharged. Hopefully “the speed of Instagram” just got a little faster.
There are users who hate Facebook so much that Instagram may see a slight drop-off in active users. For those users or users who simply prefer a more independent social photo network, there are plenty of alternatives, including Path, picplz, and Shnap!. I recently posted that fledgling social photo network picyou was way too much like Instagram. It now looks a lot more attractive because of its indie status.
I’m certain that right now thousands of users across the Instagrams are prematurely announcing the network’s death knells. I disagree. For the time being, I think this benefits Instgram’s already huge network by allowing it greater access to Facebook’s even greater network and resources. Instagram will still be big and grow quickly. I think any changes to Instagram will still be organic to its growth, only now they’ll have Facebook’s influence going forward. Changes going forward will just be — we won’t know what could have been.
How do you think the Facebook purchase will effect Instagram? Will you still use Instagram? Let us know what you think in the comments below.