It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Instagram and Its 5 Billion Photos Officially Welcomed Into the Facebook Fam

Too bad "Webstagram" is already taken.
 Instagram and Its 5 Billion Photos Officially Welcomed Into the Facebook Fam

Founder Kevin Systrom documents Stumptown Roasters, because of course (Photo: Instagram)

Five months after Facebook announced that it would be acquiring Instagram for $1 billion in cash (yay!) and stock (hrmm), the social network is rolling out the welcome mat. The deal was held up by a Federal Trade Commission investigation into potential anticompetitive practices. The FTC approved the acquisition a couple weeks ago, concluding that the popularity of Instagram competitors (like Hipstamatic and Camera Awesome) compared to Facebook Camera meant that competition was thriving.

In its report, the Office of Fair Trading included the fact that Instagram didn’t have any revenue to speak of and didn’t have data on its users–misreading the situation entirely. As The Next Web noted: “That discounts, of course, the enormous contextual value of the location data recorded with each image, not to mention the facial recognition database that Facebook has been working on making second-to-none.”

In a post about the deal closing, Instagram revealed that its app has now been used to share more than 5 billion photos, a staggering jump from the 31 million and counting photos on the app before the acquisition was announced.   The number of users on Instagram is likewise rapidly trending upwards. It surpassed 80 million users in July, and is growing by more than 10 million users per month. Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s VP of engineering, emphasizedthe app’s independence and community, pointing to developments in mobile:

As we said from the beginning, we are committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Instagram will continue to serve its community, and we will help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure. We also can’t wait to work with the talented Instagram team to improve the mobile experience.

Meanwhile Instagram, assured users that they had no big changes to fear, after noting a survey of what you can find on the app: “weddings to epic pilgrimages through the Spanish countryside.” (Wait a second, is Gwyneth on Insta??)

 The Instagram app and its features will stay the same one you know and love, and we’ll keep working together to build a better Instagram for everyone.

The big question in our mind is still whether or not Instagram will be ported to the web. For regular users, it’s a mixed bag–trading in the sense of intimacy and privacy (whether or not your account is private) for better stalking capabilities. Until then, there’s our new friend: Westagram. Sorry, pal, but we fear you are not long for this world.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com