All over the media this morning and yesterday, was the news that Facebook has bought photo-editing application Instagram in a billion dollar deal.
Although a Facebook acquisition has been the kiss of death for a number of up-and-coming successful apps in the past, this latest deal doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Instagram, Well not exactly.
As well as the 12 Instagram employees who will be substantially richer this week, there will be individuals who will see benefits of the Facebook take-over. Instagram users who have been affected by a few downsides that the app currently has, will pleased to see a large investment in the app to make it better and more effective. The evolution on the app has been one such problem, leaving irritated users staring at slow-loading screens, so the collaboration with Facebook may lead to a little more work on elements that haven’t been developed fully. Combine this with the inordinate amount of time that has been taken to adapt the app for Android, means that the addition of a billion dollar conglomerate may well lead to improvements in useability and the devices for which Instagram is available.
As we are well aware of Mark Zuckerbergs nature when it comes to finances, it does seem that he wouldn’t spend 1 billion on an app, just to run it into the ground (like he has done previously whether meaning too or not e.g. ‘Friendfeed’) especially as it was no threat to the site at all before. With this in mind, the fact Facebook account holders were posting their Instagram photos to their newsfeed means that it was even working alongside the social network, so here’s hoping they will nuture it, giving Kevin (Instagram creator) whatever he needs to make the app bigger and better.
Although there are countless examples of acquisitions that have gone less than swimmingly, a particularly successful example (and one Facebook and Instagram should really take heed of) is Google’s acquirement of YouTube. Spending more than $1.65 billion on the site in 2006, many thought that this buy out would spell the end for YouTube, but the unique way in which Google managed the take over meant that the company (who were previously loosing money rapidly) could carry on creatively developing their company as they had began, only with the seemingly limitless capital provided to them through parent company.
There was no real change to the way in which YouTube provided it’s service, the layout was the same, the structure didn’t change, it wasn’t until fairly recently that Google’s prime money-making source, (advertising) , even penetrated our video viewing.
Zuckerberg has maintained throughout the deal that the two media enterprises will be operating separately, but this doesn’t mean that somewhere down the line they won’t begin to merge, which will be an interesting development.
As far as Instagram and Facebook are concerned, time will only tell how the acquisition will work, but given the increasingly visual nature of the Facebook timeline, the integration of a visual photo-editing service may help Facebook to move towards the visual platform they have merely been hinting at thus far. With the popularity of social network Pinterest, Facebook may be seeing Instagram as a way to take on the Pinterest network that is growing at an intimidating speed.
Whatever happens in the long run, right now it seems like Instagram users will still be able to add sepia and black and white tones to their average photos to make ‘artistic’ pictures . Thank goodness.