Facebook likes new photo app

Recession, what recession? A profitless internet start-up that has been around for just 2 years has been bought by Facebook for a cool $1 billion.

Instagram is a picture-sharing app that allows users to tweak and share their photos on Facebook, Twitter or in old-fashioned text messages. It has been downloaded by over 30 million users, from Justin Bieber to Barack Obama. When Instagram was launched for Android devices, it was downloaded a million times in the first 12 hours.

Part of the appeal is a facility that allows users to treat their pictures using the filters that can give a photo a futuristic sheen or an antique sepia finish. It’s an app that brings photos right into the social media whirl.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained the acquisition: "This is an important milestone for Facebook, because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users. Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together."

Stanford graduates Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded the company in 2010. Systrom said he had "never expected the overwhelming response" the app had received. "We went from literally a handful of users to the No 1 free photography app in a matter of hours."

The app took a year to develop. "We decided that if we were going to build a company, we wanted to focus on being really good at one thing. We saw mobile photos as an awesome opportunity to try out some new ideas."

And make a billion dollars, as it turned out.

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