Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Facebook Bought Instagram To Build Community And Keep It From Google

I’m still trying to figure out why Facebook spent $1 billion on Instagram.  Obviously, they could have just put a team together to build an app or feature into its current Facebook with a bunch of filters, more than anyone else if they wanted to, and put it out there for users.  In speaking with Dave the Mobile Sage, we have come to the conclusion that Facebook wanted the Instagram community.


First, why $1 billion?  That’s a lot of dough even for today’s market.  However, Dave also pointed that in 2006, Facebook nearly took Yahoo’s $1 billion deal.  So today’s $1 billion for a growing and very cohesive photo-sharing community is not really that far of a stretch.  On top of that, there is speculation that there was a bidding war going on for Instagram and Google might have been involved.

Here’s why that’s so.  On Google+, I have included in my circles a lot of people.  Most of them I don’t know personally but boy, can they take pictures.  I spend a lot more time on G+ looking at pics than I do at the pics that my friends post on Facebook.  While I like my friends on Facebook, none of them are all that great at taking pics.

And on Facebook, I’m not likely to friend folks I don’t know at all even if I do come across someone who’s great at taking pictures.

The separation I’ve created for between the community and relationships has made my use of the two social networks very distinct.  Facebook likely recognize that and by adding Instagram, they hope to change that perception.  The question is whether it’ll work.

Facebook is generally for friends.  Google+ for geeks and some professionals.  LinkedIn for pros.  Perhaps, both Facebook and Google recognize the importance of the cool factor Instagram bought.  Only Facebook was willing to fork over more money to get it.

Oh, and let's not forget that Instagram is about mobile and there is a lot of data that does along with this deal as well. The question is whether Facebook, who isn't big on user privacy, will end up mucking up something great.

And to top it off, Android users just got the Instagram app last week.

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