With barely a few weeks to go before the launch of the Facebook IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is going all out to improve the features of his social network.
It has just been announced that Facebook has bought mobile photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion.
In the initial stages Instagram was only compatible with Apple’s iPhones. However, they have recently launched an app that is also compatible with Android phones.
While the iOS version already had about 30 million users, the launch of the Android compatible app has given them a further jump in numbers. On the first day itself they received 1 million downloads, and 5 million in the first 6 days.
Facebook has only recently started distributing ads through mobiles and the acquisition of Instagram should help them to improve the user experience. In effect it will also help them to better monetize their mobile site.
Mark Zuckerberg has announced on his Facebook page that the Instagram brand will be retained as it is. “Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.”
While some analysts feel that this move to buy Instagram is with a view to corner its user base, Gartner analyst Ray Valdes says that it is more likely to be a move to keep it away from the hands of their rivals.
Both Zuckerberg as well as Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom, have said that users will be able to continue sharing photos on sites other than Facebook, and Facebook users will be able to ‘not share’ their Instagrams if they so desire.