Launched in October 2010, Instagram is a free photo sharing program that allows users to take photos, apply digital filters and share the results on a variety of social networks, such as including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr,Flickr, and Posterous. In an homage to both the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras, Instagram confines photos into a square shape. This is in contrast to the 3:2 aspect ratio normally used by the iOS device cameras.
It now has more than 50 million users and is adding new ones at the rate of roughly 5 million per week, according to its API. Instagram hit 40 million users around April 13, and 30 million at the start of the month. This is astonishing growth for an app that started 2012 with just 15 million users. For its first two years, Instagram was only available on iphones, but on April 3rd 2012 Instagram for Android was released, no doubt driving the number of users further into the millions.
On April 12th 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. The deal, which was made just before Facebook was scheduled to go public, cost Facebook about a quarter of the cash-on-hand they had as of the end of 2011; the deal was for a company characterized as having “lots of buzz but no business model”, and the price was contrasted with the $35 million Yahoo! paid for Flickr in 2005, a website which has since become among the 50 most popular in the world. Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook was “committed to building and growing Instagram independently”.