Photo sharing made easy. That's been the hook that has made Instagram one of the most popular photo sharing apps for the iPhone. Last week they made their free app available for Android phone users and it was downloaded 1 million times in the first 24 hours.
This week Facebook bought the tiny company for $1 billion. That's billion with a 'B'.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company has no intention of altering Instagram in any way, other than providing further integration into their system, and Instagram founders say they are staying fiercely independent despite the purchase.
Personally, I don't believe either of them.
In my opinion, and it's just my opinion, Facebook is looking for a new Pinterest, one that they control. Instagram has the best chance of becoming the next Pinterest simply because it is already popular; doesn't yet have a hard and fast infrastructure which prevents alteration and offers a host of interesting photo adjustment tools which makes taking and sharing photos easy and fun for users.
News broke last week that Pinterest is already the 3rd most visited site on the web after Facebook and Twitter. Clearly this news did not go overlook at the headquarters of either of those companies. Twitter already has a photo sharing tool, and Facebook IS a photo sharing tool, and Instagram falls somewhere in between.
By purchasing Instagram Facebook gets an already incredibly popular photo sharing tool and narrows the gap with Pinterest. There are currently about 30 million people using Instagram and that number will likely jump now that the app is available to Android users.
(On an interesting side note, some iPhone users actually complained when Instagram opened itself up to Android users, because they preferred it as an 'Apple only' tool.)
I am anxious to see how Facebook integrates Instagram and whether or not they stay true to their word that they will alter little, if anything, about the app. I am also anxious to see what will become of Pinterest, as it is quickly growing into a major social media player all by itself.
What are your thoughts and do you see Instagram becoming a marketing tool any time soon?