Will Facebook Halt Instagram’s Gratification to the Cloud?
I’m sure that by now you’ve heard the news that Facebook has purchased Instagram. Even bigger concern for us cloud aficionados has recently been made news by Data Center Knowledge, one of Instagram’s place in the cloud. Will Facebook scoop it up from its roots there, or will the social network behemoth mercifully allow it to stay? Assuming you haven’t yet been made abreast of this news, allow me to contextualize all of this for you.
Instagram might indeed be the world’s most popular cloud application. Established in the fall of 2010, this app is a photo exchange service which adheres more or less to the following process: an owner of an iPhone (and, just recently, an Android smartphone) takes a picture through the app; the signature Instagram hipster filter and square shape is applied to that photo; that photo is then disseminated to every major social network — Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr — and now, Instagram’s own eponymous network as well.
By the end of 2010, more than one million users were Instagramming every image they could possibly snap. Six months later, Instagram’s population of users quintupled. The application earned awards at a rapid pace, including such major commendations as the 2011 App of the Year award from Apple. Fast forward to today — April 2012 — when 30 million Instagram users made the application, and its cultural impact, impossible for a certain Facebook to resist.
Five days ago — April 12 — Facebook made its crush on Instagram public by purchasing the application for $1 billion, totaled from both stock and cash, about 25% of the Zuckerberg darling’s total coffers in 2011. Compared with the $35 million that Yahoo! spent on Flickr, a rival photo-share network, Facebook’s romantically large gesture took many tech experts aback, striking them as exorbitant and groundless. Zuckerberg has clarified that such a grand purchase is highly unlikely to occur again, and he is more or less a genius, so my bet is that Facebook’s top dog foresaw buying Instagram as a shrewd move for the long haul.
One extremely important Instagram issue continues to hold the tech community rapt: the fate of the application’s cloud status. Run on Amazon Web Service’s EC2 Compute Cloud, Instagram definitely ranks as one of cloud computing’s most successful and exemplary products. Will Facebook nevertheless decide to refit its infrastructure into their own offices? Only time can tell.
By Jeff Norman
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