Yesterday’s announcement that Facebook has acquired Instagram created waves, to say the least. Facebook reasserted its commitment to mobile at (quite literally) any cost, and Instagramming addicts have threatened to jump ship. But for all the business implications and user reactions we’ve seen, what this acquisition concretely means for the Facebook and Instagram experience has pretty much been left to guess work.
But now there is a glimpse of how the platform might integrate with the Facebook Timeline. You may have noticed that Instagram is currently missing from the roster of official Timeline apps, which is somewhat surprising. Names like Spotify, Pinterest, LivingSocial, and Foursquare are there – why not another incredibly popular service? In fact, there isn’t any sort of Instagram app available for Facebook. Aside to being able to push your photos to the site, the two have had very little to do with one another. Up until now, this is what your Instagram to Facebook content looked like:
According to InsideFacebook, a tight integration between the two has been in the works for awhile. “We’re currently working with a small set of partners to text extending the publish_stream permission to include the Open Graph publish_actions permissions to enable apps to publish to Timeline,” Facebook told the site.
To put that in clearer terms, you’ve always been able to post your Instagrams to Facebook (see above). But now, they will include an action (“Molly took a photo with Instagram”) as well as the activity box you see from other apps summarizing your content from a particular integrated service. Here’s how it will look (via InsideFacebook):
This is all within the bounds of how current Timeline-approved apps work. And now that Facebook owns the immensely popular photo platform, it has all the more reason to introduce it to Timeline and drive traffic to the app.
This is only skimming the surface of what we’re likely to see from the deal. Other possibilities include filters for Facebook’s mobile app, mass importing your Instagrams to Facebook, and the ability to tag your Facebook friends in Instagram images. But for now, the only sure thing is that Instagram is $1 billion richer and integration with Timeline will hit very soon.