|Original author(s)||Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger (Burbn, Inc.)|
|Initial release||October 6, 2010|
0.4.2.0 (March 22, 2014 ) [±]
|Operating system||iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.2 or later; Windows Phone 8|
|Available in||25 languages|
|Type||Photo & Video|
Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras. Users are also able to record and share short videos lasting for up to 15 seconds.
Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012[update]. Instagram is distributed through the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone Store. Support was originally available for only the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; in April 2012, support was added for Android camera phones. Third-party Instagram apps are available for Blackberry 10 and Nokia-Symbian Devices. On October 22, 2013, during the Nokia World at Abu Dhabi, UAE, Kevin Systrom has confirmed that official Instagram app for Windows Phone will be available in the coming weeks. On November 21, 2013, the official Instagram Beta for Windows Phone has been released to Windows Phone 8 to allow Windows Phone user to get faster access to Instagram services although the app is still under development with lack of video recording and capture image through app. The service was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. In 2013, Instagram grew by 23%, while Facebook, as the mother company, only grew by 3%.
Instagram began development in San Francisco when Kevin Systrom and Brazilian Michel "Mike" Krieger chose to focus their multi-featured HTML5 check-in project Burbn on mobile photography. The name "Instagram" is a portmanteau of "instant camera" and "telegram".
On March 5, 2010, Systrom closed a $500,000 seed funding round from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz while working on Burbn. Josh Riedel joined the company as Community Manager. Shayne Sweeney joined in November 2010 as an engineer and Jessica Zollman was hired as a Community Evangelist in August 2011.
In January 2011, Instagram added hashtags to help users discover both photographs and each other. Instagram encourages users to make tags both specific and relevant, rather than tagging generic words like "photo" in order to make photographs stand out and to attract like-minded Instagrammers. In September, version 2.0 went live in the App Store (iOS). It included new and live filters, instant tilt–shift, high resolution photographs, optional borders, one click rotation and an updated icon.
On February 2, 2011, it was announced that Instagram had raised $7 million in Series A funding from a variety of investors, including Benchmark Capital, Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca (through Capital fund), and Adam D'Angelo. The deal valued Instagram at around $25 million.
On April 3, 2012, Instagram for Android phones running the 2.2 Froyo version of the OS was released, and it was downloaded more than one million times in less than one day. That same week, Instagram raised $50 million from venture capitalists for a share of the company; the process valued Instagram at $500 million. In the next three months Instagram was rated more than one million times on Google Play and was the fifth app ever to reach one million ratings on Google Play—as of April 2013[update], it had been rated nearly four million times.
In its second largest acquisition deal to date, Facebook made an offer to purchase Instagram (with its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock in April 2012, with plans to keep the service independently managed. Britain's Office of Fair Trading approved the deal on August 14, 2012, and on August 22, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States closed its investigation, allowing the deal to proceed. On September 6, 2012, the deal between Instagram and Facebook officially closed.
On April 12, 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", in contrast to its common practice of, as CNNMoney.com put it, buying "hot startups, kill[ing] their products, and redeploy[ing] their staff on other projects." According to multiple reports, the deal netted Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom $400 million based on his ownership stake in the business. The exact purchase price was $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock.
In January 2013, it was confirmed that Instagram has asked for photo IDs to verify identities due to unspecified violations.
Following the appointment of Emily White to the position of chief operating officer in March 2013, White stated in September 2013 that the company should be ready to begin selling advertising by September 2014 as a way to generate business from a popular entity that had not yet created profit for its parent company. For users, Instagram remains committed to free and open access to their smart-phone app. During an interview with WWD, Ms. White said "the sophistication of cameras on smartphones as one reason for ushering in the transformative change" and she used an example of, during a fashion show, seeing the large cameras being replaced with mobile smart phones.
On October 3, 2013, Instagram announced that it would be adding advertising to its platform.
On December 12, 2013, Instagram added Direct, a feature allowing users to send photos to specific people only directly from the app. The Direct feature is primarily intended to compete against messaging services, along with the popular Snapchat.
On March 11, 2014, Instagram released an updated Android app with performance improvements and a flatter interface. The update was primarily intended to reduce the app's file size and resource usage; it was optimized for and tested on low-end smartphones sold in emerging markets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Y—a phone popular in the growing market of Brazil.
By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users. In June 2011 Instagram announced it had 5 million users and it passed 10 million in September of the same year. In April 2012, it was announced that over 30 million accounts were set up on Instagram.
Instagram announced that 100 million photographs had been uploaded to its service as of July 2011. This total reached 150 million in August 2011. By May 2012 58 photographs were being uploaded and a new user was being gained each second. The total number of photographs uploaded had exceeded one billion.
There are also proprietary rights in content on Instagram. Instagram does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photographs, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, content) that users post on or through the Instagram Services.
On August 9, 2012, English musician Ellie Goulding came out with a new music video for her song "Anything Could Happen". The video only contained fan submitted Instagram photographs that used various Instagram filters to represent words or lyrics from the song and over 1200 different photographs were submitted.
On February 27, 2013, Instagram announced 100 million active users, only two-and-a-half years after the launch of the app. As of September 9, 2013, the company has announced a total of more than 150 million monthly active users.
Many celebrities have profiles on Instagram, sharing photos and videos of their personal and professional lives with fans. Some celebrities deleted their accounts in response to Instagram's proposed change to its Terms of Service, which would have allowed the photo-sharing app to sell images to advertisers without compensation to users.
The "Weekend Hashtag Project" is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram's Community Team. Followers receive the weekend's project every Friday, and each project encourages participants to post creative photographs according to the designated theme each weekend.
Users can upload photographs and short videos, connect their Instagram account to other social networking sites (which will enable the option to share uploaded photos to those sites), and follow other users' feeds. As of June 2013, users can connect their Instagram account to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.
In 2012, Instagram created web profiles which allows users to use their Instagram account like a social media site. This gave users a web profile featuring a selection of recently shared photographs, biographical information, and other personal details. The web feed is a simpler version of the phone app, mimicking the look and feel users are already accustomed to.
In December 2013, Instagram added a feature named Instagram Direct that allows users to send photos only to a specific user or group of users, rather than having it be viewable by all. This was viewed as a response to the popularity of services like Snapchat.
Instagram offers a number of photographic filters that users can apply to their images:
Initially a purely photo-sharing service, Instagram incorporated video sharing in June 2013, allowing its users to record and share videos lasting for up to 15 seconds. The addition was seen by some in the technology media as Facebook's attempt at competing with Twitter's Vine video-sharing application.
Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we'd like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.
The company acted quickly in response to a 2013 investigation from the BBC regarding the role of Instagram in sales of illicit drugs. The BBC discovered that users, mostly located in the US, were posting images of drugs they were selling and then completing transactions via instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp Messenger. Corresponding hashtags have been blocked as part of the company's response and a spokesperson engaged with the BBC, explaining:
Instagram has a clear set of rules about what is and isn't allowed on the site. We encourage people who come across illegal or inappropriate content to report it to us using the built-in reporting tools next to every photo, video or comment, so we can take action. People can't buy things on Instagram, we are simply a place where people share photos and videos.
Instagram was the runner-up for "Best Mobile App" at the 2010 TechCrunch Crunchies in January 2011. In May 2011, Fast Company listed CEO Kevin Systrom at number 66 in the "The 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011". In June 2011, Inc. included co-founders Systrom and Krieger in its 2011 "30 Under 30" list.
Instagram won "Best Locally Made App" in the SF Weekly Web Awards in September 2011. 7x7Magazine's September 2011 issue featured Systrom and Krieger on the cover of their “The Hot 20 2011” issue. In December 2011, Apple Inc. named Instagram "App of the Year" for 2011.
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