What’s The Future of Instagram?

Monday held some big news, as it was announced that Instagram is going to be acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. There were many mixed feelings on this move by the photo sharing service. Some felt that it was unfair to see their precious network disappear into another one, but others — namely users of Facebook — felt that such a purchase would enhance their photo sharing experience. The latter is probably correct, but there’s more to it than that.

Facebook’s main goal of this purchase is to gain users. Just think about it: Facebook is a service that relies on the number of users who frequently visit. When that number begins to diminish, they search for a way to get new users. This acquisition — that’s right, $1 billion for users — is the answer to that problem. Keep reading for a look at what could happen to Instagram.

Is It the Filters or the Community?

There are millions of users who think that Instagram was all about the filters, which is wrong — it was about the networking. Sure, filters helped, but I don’t really think they’re the whole picture. I’m a photographer, and I have to say that I’ve always disliked Instagram because there are a limited number of effects. They get old quickly and if you’ve ever used the network you’ll understand what I mean.

Facebook probably wanted to purchase Instagram because people seem to like the effects and the app itself is great. They could gain the talent that the app’s design team has and use it to make their own mobile apps even better. That’s not all Instagram had though — there was also a community that was constantly growing and this is what likely appealed most to Facebook.

You see, even though you’d think that Facebook purchases little startups for the sake of warding off competition, this isn’t it at all. They saw the potential users that were out there forming a thriving community of people who love to share photos. Facebook right now is the largest sharing website on the Internet, even at photos. So why not expand things a bit and improve the quality of their photo sharing feature?

Typical Instagram shots.

Typical Instagram shots.

I think the main goal of Instagram has always been to let users share photos quickly with some added flare, if you will. Facebook is going to use this — some believe — in their own standalone photo app that is coming soon to the iPhone. That’s just a rumor, but it would make a lot os sense and also put some reasoning behind this acquisition.

Sadly, with Apple’s release of iOS 5 and 5.1, it became far easier to share photos using the Camera app since there was now integration of Twitter,Facebook’s chief competitor. For some reason, Apple left them out of the sharing picture. Many, including myself, believe it was for simplicity purposes. After all, Twitter is much simpler than Facebook when it comes to nearly everything. Whatever the reason, Facebook is looking for a better way to let users share their photos on a mobile phone and Instagram must have filled this need, so they bought it.

Now What’s Going To Happen?

If you ever cared about Instagram and don’t like Facebook, then you’re main question on this acquisition is probably “What’s the future here?” Well, Facebook has a way of integrating ads into their products, and even though Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web argues that they likely won’t, I think they will. If you know anything about Facebook, it’s that they love to advertise and make money (How else are things supposed to keep running anyway?).

I think that eventually Instagram will require a Facebook account to use the service, because that way Facebook gets more users. This really makes sense because, even in the instance of their partnership with Spotify, the service no longer accepts new accounts except for those created through a Facebook connection. This isn’t the right way to do things, in my opinion. They just shouldn’t be forcing people to create a Facebook account just to use their service.


What if this happens to Instagram? Currently, Instagram doesn’t require any account at all to browse some photos in their app (it’s a bit limited, but at least you can browse), but this could all change very soon. Facebook is probably going to use the effects that Instagram currently has on their website as an option for any users who wish to make their photos “better.” I really hope this isn’t something they put too much emphasis on though, because they have a way of sticking things right in your face every time you visit the site.

Facebook claims that they won’t be drastically changing anything, but are they to be trusted? If you’ve ever used their mobile apps, you’ll know that they are really terrible at keeping them stable. Their iPhone and iPad apps, for instance, are rubbish. They either crash all the time, lag throughout many processes, or lack features that they should have. I’m not saying that Facebook is going to ruin Instagram, but rather that they will take some of the features and developments that have been made and integrate them into their own app. This could be good, but only the future will tell what happens.

What Do You Think?

You’ve read my thoughts on this acquisition and what I think the future for this service may hold, so now what do you think? Is Instagram ruined forever or will Facebook only improve it?

  • http://abhijeet abhijeet

    i think Facebook is scared shitless thats why they bought Instagram 😀 and i think Instagram team sold the product very early they should have been wait and build there own community and find the way to make money for them and challenge FaceBook OR twitter but………
    I wonder why twitter let Facebook to buy Instagram they should bought it self ??

  • http://www.xn--hmorrhoidenhausmittel-51b.com Laura Silfver

    Perhaps Twitter tried to do just that but it wasn’t to happen =)

  • Melodelia

    I was irritated at the tide of photocrap washing up in my Instagram feed when the Android app went live. (Some banal pixels by Snooki !!Snooki!! showed up, and therefore invaded my Flipboard.) The minute I found out about this development it was ‘Cancel Cancel Instagram’. I have already pulled out my account, deleted the feed that was pushing it to my Flipboard, and am sifting through my options. My Facebook and my Instagram were separate for a reason.

  • Mkid

    Naw. This was a wall street move. there’s a limit of stock u can buy in FB. So buy the stock in IG then have FB buy instagram, now u own more Facebook.

  • Jeremy

    In all honesty, i don’t care. Instagram can disappear all together for all i care. I only use it (rarely) because so many of my friends use it. The app i really love is Streamzoo. It’s got the social networking side of it, great filters, comments, messages, etc. Much better than Instagram, i think.

    • Jacob Penderworth

      I feel the same way, but most people don’t.

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  • Tuomas Hämäläinen

    I just got into Instagram and I’m loving the way it is. That’s why I hope they won’t change it for the worse (=tighter FB integration). They’ve said they plan on keeping the services separate – hopefully they’ll honor that promise too.

  • http://cansurmeli.com C@N

    I once read that Apple didn’t integrated Facebook into iOSS 5 because Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t that arguable as we can all imagine. :)

    Besides that I think there isn’t much to worry about the merger if in the future Facebook won’t limit login to just Facebook.

  • Ron

    deleted IG the minute I read about the deal.

  • P0lka

    I think the deal went something like that:

    facebook: Hey Instagram, I want to buy you.
    Instagram: F off facebook. Never!
    facebook: Calm down Instagram. What would it take?
    Instagram: Erm, a billion dollars!
    facebook: Deal!

  • Chiel

    The reason why Twitter did not buy instagram? Because paying a billion for an app with a community is just a big bubble. One day, and I think not in the very far future, people will get tired of all the funny effects as already a million pictures all look the same. If it is for the community, when people get tired of the pictures they will eventually switch to a different community and Instagram will die. That is, unless they come up with something really new and surprising, but I cannot think of anything that will be revolutionary. Next step will probably be 3d pictures for the app, but after that???

    Facebook must know this and realize instagram will stop existing somewhere in the future and bought it purely for the userbase (they have clever enough personel to create such software themselves), but I really doubt if thats worth a billion.

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