Android who? Facebook scoops up Instagram for $1 billion

instafacebookJust as we were all feeling iPhone’s users’ wrath over Instagram’s recent Android launch comes another announcement regarding the status of the young platform: it’s been bought by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock.

“I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook,” Mark Zuckerberg writes. “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.”

Instagram’s enormous and unprecedented success has made it arguably the first and only mobile social platform. Up until last week, it was only available via iOS and is still a smartphone-only client, yet it’s still managed to rake in millions upon millions of very dedicated subscribers. And the backlash from its original clientele, iPhone owners, over Android integration made it clear that it’s risen above and beyond normal app status.

Zuckerberg mentions how odd of an acquisition this is for his company. “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,” he says. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But 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.”

The purchase does answer many of our lingering questions about Facebook photos. While it’s become an incredibly popular photo-sharing platform, it’s been a lacking one. Updates have been issued here and there to upgrade the service, but everyone’s been wondering when exactly it would introduce even the subtlest of editing features. Now we know.

This move unarguably sweetens Facebook’s IPO. In the wake of patent litigation, the company may have started looking a little risky to investors. But this shows Facebook isn’t going to get to comfortable, and plans to make big, meaningful moves to innovate.