(Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)
Wildly popular photo app Instagram may be looking to grab some social status in the video arena.
Facebook sent out an invitation saying, ” A small team has been working on a big idea” in a move to tease interest in a new product announcement scheduled at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Thursday.
Facebook’s Instagram has seen sizzling growth on interest in mobile photo sharing, and a logical step would be to stake out videos next.
Shares of Facebook rose 1.7%, to $ 24.02, amid the rumors.
The social-networking giant reported in its first-quarter earnings that Instagram has attracted more than 100 million users, up from about 22 million when Facebook acquired the company.
App videos have become an Internet sensation as heaps of startups try to become the next mobile version of YouTube. Short ones from Vine, purchased by Twitter in October, have made 6-second videos a new message form.
Facebook and Twitter compete for social attention and have added features such as streaming radio music services to keep users glued in. Facebook last week borrowed a page from Twitter’s hashtags convention of providing search around certain subject areas to launch hashtag support on the world’s largest social network.
Facebook has a history of trying to match the features of rivals, points out analyst Greg Sterling. “They have seen the success that Vine has had and do not want to have Instagram lose favor because it does not offer that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to do something that one-upped it.
The prospect of Instagram launching a video service saw increased speculation in media reports on Monday. Read More
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may have opened a probe into Facebook’s purchase of photo-sharing app Instagram.
The social network in April announced plans to acquire the app for $1 billion in cash and stock. According to Facebook’s pre-IPO S-1 documents filed with the Security and Exchange Commission, the company expects the deal to close in the second financial quarter of 2012.
But a new report posits that the deal may be delayed.
According to the Financial Times (paywalled), two sources said that the FTC has begun an antitrust investigation into the deal.
“The competition probe – routine for any deal more than $66m – is likely to take six to 12 months, according to several experts,” writes the FT.
Facebook has said it will pay Instagram $200 million if the deal falls through.
FTC Spokesman Mitch Katz told The Huffington Post, “The FTC doesn’t have anything to say about this. We haven’t even said that we’re the agency responsible,” pointing out that the Department of Justice also has oversight over these matters. “The pre-merger review process is entirely non-public. Unless an early termination is granted.”
A Facebook rep declined to comment. Read More
Three guys from Provo, Utah set out on a mission to make QR codes, those boring pixellated, black-and-white squares come alive — in other words, to extend their functionality by turning them into realworld “like,” “follow,” and “buy” buttons. And it’s been working. In February, Scan closed a seed funding round from Shervin Pishevar, Google Ventures, CRV, Start Fund, Social + Capital, Ludlow Ventures, and more. The company moved their operations from Utah to San Francisco, and is currently sitting at just over 12 million downloads across iOS devices.
How did it become one of the top downloaded QR code scanner in just over a year? Because, beyond the basic scanning functionality offered by a host of iOS and Android apps, Scan offers a variety of services and features that let SMBs and enterprise companies create mobile optimized QR code, NFC, and other tech experiences to let users can QR codes with their phone and immediately “like” products or businesses on Facebook, follow on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc. Check out how businesses are using it here. Read More
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 28-year old founder and chief, has found himself in a rare and enviable position. Now that his social network has been valued at $100bn, he can comfortably afford to wipe out any of its competitors with large purchase prices and lots of change to spare.
Instagram, with its 30 million users, the majority of which are young, (compared to Facebook’s ageing membership as its popularity grows amongst parents and grandparents) has been scooped up by Facebook for a mere one per cent of its market cap.
The move heralds a new era for the social network. Zuckerberg has personally pledged to not only keep the photo-sharing app open; he has said it will continue to work with other rival social networks, such as Twitter and location-sharing service Foursquare.
Using his own Facebook profile to announce the deal, which is the first of its size for the social network, Zuckerberg stressed that it would be business as usual for Instagram’s 30 million users: “We need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
“We plan on keeping features like the 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.” See Full Post