In the continuation of overpriced purchases of companies, Facebook has purchased the iPhone and Android photo sharing application and website, Instagram for $1 Billion.
According to both Instagram and Facebook, Instagram, as it is today, will continue. Not every feature will be integrated into Facebook nor will Instagram require Facebook. It does appear that Facebook is sensitive to the fact that many current Instagram users do not wish to be part of the Facebook experience and use Instagram to keep things separate.
Currently Instagram has 30 Million users. Many of these users have decided that the service is no longer for them due to Facebook's acquisition. As of this writing none of the terms of service that Instagram adheres to have changed. This does not mean that they will not change in the future. But there really is no need to jump ship yet.
Is Facebook buying Instagram an automatic loss for Instagram and its customers? I don't think so. Stated within Mark Zuckerberg's post, comes the fact that they, Facebook, hopes to allow Instagram to grow by providing the infrastructure and engineering talents that Facebook has to keep Instagram running at its optimal performance and virtually 100% uptime. As any startup, who has gained a significant amount of traction can attest, keeping your servers up and running, as well as scaling, With the addition of the Facebook servers, Instagram should be able to serve up the photos if its users rather quickly all across the world.
Facebook has also promised to keep Instagram entirely separate. This means that the users you have on Instagram may not necessarily be the same as your Facebook account. Keeping the two companies separate also means that you are not automatically required to share your Instagram photos to Facebook. I'm sure it will be strongly encouraged, but not required. You will still be able to send your photos to any other site that you wish to share with.
The last possibly good item is that Facebook could get some of the iOS development insights from Instagram. Instagram has created a social network of 30 million users in just two years. That's an explosive amount of growth. Facebook, after it's first two years only had 6 million users. There has to be some massive server administration going just to allow 5 times the number of users in the same amount of time. To be fair, Two years after launch Facebook was still only for College Students, and not all College Students at that.
What does Facebook gain from Instagram? Depending on how Facebook manages to pull this off, quite a bit. With 30 Million users knowing the name Instagram, as well as Instagram having good rapport with its users, could help Facebook garner more users.
One thing I have thought about is how will Facebook count Instagram users? Will they continue to keep the number separate or will Instagram users become part of Facebook's total number of monthly users? None of these questions have been answered, but I am sure we will find out soon enough.
If you are set on jumping from Instagram, there are a few other social networks that you can take a look at. Twitter, Path, and even Google+. If you're a big photographer, Google+ has become a mecca for Photographers. Twitter is Twitter, and Path is good if you want to limit your total number of friends to 150 or less.
While I have an Instagram account, I do not use it that often, so I am not too terribly worried about jumping ship. If you are set on jumping, head over to the Instagram account removal request form and ask to have your account deleted.
Facebook states that it will not be making any significant purchases like Instagram agin, but you never know. I say you wait and see what Facebook ends up doing with Instagram before deciding what you want to do. If in six months you decide to jump ship or not. Give Facebook the benefit of the doubt.