Instagram hit the App Store October 2010 as a free, photo-sharing social network for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. Although it’s expanded to Androids, and its pictures can be shared on the Web, it’s still strictly a mobile app. Instagram became big with the under-25 crowd, whose members loved to post vintage-y looking snapshots with a little help from the app’s sixteen filters for digital photos. Like on Twitter, posters could follow and be followed, and like on Facebook, users could comment on pictures.
Facebook saw a dangerous rival, and before Instagramers finished complaining about the April influx of Android users, the news spread that Facebook had just bought the 13-employee company for $1 billion. Suddenly, Instagram was losing some of its cool, though going mainstream always means more money.
About the purchase, Mark Zuckerberg said: “It’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”
Above, the Kodak Instamatic is pictured — it’s the old-school cam, along with the Polaroid, that inspires the look of Instagram’s filters.