Facebook has announced that it is acquiring Instagram for a cool $1 billion in cash and shares.
Instagram is expected to continue operating as an independent company - although certain aspects of the popular app are slated for deeper integration with the social networking site.
"For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we'll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in an official post.
"We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently."
Zuckerberg also confirmed that the social networking site would maintain Instagram's "ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook."
Instagram first appeared in Apple's App Store on October 6, 2010 and has been downloaded more than 30 million times. The free photo sharing application allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter, then share it on a number of social networking sites.
The software can be used to manipulate photos into a square shape, which are reminiscent of the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras of yore. The resulting images stand in stark contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio most typically associated with mobile device cameras.
Instagram is compatible with any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 3.1.2 or above and any Android
camera phone running 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. The app can be downloaded via Apple's Apple App Store or Google Play.