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back to article Picture this: Photo-fiddling app Instagram on Google Android

iPhone photo tinting app Instagram has bagged 27 million users and will release an Android app "very soon", CEO-founder Kevin Systrom said at SXSW. The proclamation comes a week after rumours emerged that the company's 17-month-old vignette filter was on the verge of pulling in $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $ …

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27 million users and 9 employees?

Color me impressed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 27 million users and 9 employees?

Not to mention the 7 million investment. Not bad :) Though I guess a lot of that goes to Amazon AWS... and Red Bull apparently.

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Happy

Re: 27 million users and 9 employees?

Fade/Age/Sepia me impressed

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"We plan to experiment with different models"

Translation: We'll slap more adverts in until people complain, then remove one of them,.

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Translation!

"Dealing with the question of how they will actually make money, Instagram says: 'We plan to experiment with different models as we grow and learn what special value we can provide to the community to make their collective experience more engaging, exciting and useful.'"

Translation: "Dealing with the question of how they will actually make money, Instagram says: "We have no idea at all. But we DO have some buzzwords, and we plan on using them to mystify and grow fat on the investment money of suggestible venture capitalists."

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$40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

For a company with 1 application that has zero revenue?!?!?!?

Crazy. Totally fucking crazy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

It's not really that crazy: Google also attracted a 25 million investment in 1999, with only one application (search) and zero revenue (ads only started in 2000)

I'm quite sure they also had way less than 27 million users back then.

I guess at the time you'd call it crazy too?

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WTF?

Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

Difference is that I could see how useful a good search engine would be. I don't see why a huge number of people would want to make their photos look old. I bet 25 million of the 27 million users have downloaded the app, tried it and thought "Cool!" and then never used it again.

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Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

Compare and contrast: One was a world-wide accessible search engine that wiped the floor even with all its early competitors, backed by a major university, lots of hardware (the capability to index the entire Internet as it existed at that time, for instance), tons of complicated number-churning and had potentially every Internet user as a customer.

This is a photo-app that makes fades a photo and makes it look aged, like PaintShop Pro and Photoshop have been doing since... gosh... before Google existed, and like several thousand other apps let you do, and which I could probably knock up in an afternoon. The only "new" thing about it: They target a particular platform only, and you have to pay for the app.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

> Compare and contrast: One was a world-wide accessible search engine that wiped the floor even with all its early competitors, backed by a major university, lots of hardware (the capability to index the entire Internet as it existed at that time, for instance)

How quickly people forget.. Google was really none of that in 1999, except the world-wide accesible part.

Backed by a major university? So was the earlier Lycos (CMU)

Entire Internet? You obviously don't remember the "we index X billions of pages [more than our competitor]" marketing battles that were going on. No one indexed the entire Internet.

You also don't remember that Google didn't have the best results back then, however it had a fast and clean design and most importantly, little to no ads.

Google was also seen as the poster case for Linux (they also ran a Linux search portal - also gone these days) so it attracted many users from the tech crowd. Lots of intensive users = better results by simply collating what those masses of users pick.

But the whole point is that $40 million is not that much money for a service already with 27 million users and it's about to grow even more with the Android app. Surely they can recoup that from simple ad revenue alone.

Knowing what people know now, and the number of users involved, how much do you think Google would get back then? $25 million? Of course not, it would be at least in the high hundreds of millions range.

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Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

"$40 million is not that much money for a service already with 27 million users"

I'm afraid this is where your argument fails - though that was the point of their publicity and the mistake they were hoping everyone would make. They have had 27 million downloads. Not 27 million users. I must have downloaded a few thousand apps in the 10+ years I've had smartphones. I currently use less than 30.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $40m in venture funding and had been valued at $500m

Well, yes I know the 27 million are certainly inflated with inactive users, but what about 1.3 million new photos posted per day (last August stats)?

I don't get the enthusiasm myself, but clearly many do seem to enjoy the service

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Take the money and run

before someone spends a couple of days with with gimp and necessitas.

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That quote was amazing. I'm going to remember that for when I next don't have a clue what I'm doing.

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WTF?

Instagramp

Am I the only one that doesn't really understand the point of these apps? Fair play to you if you do and buy them, but don't they just take your (probably poor) phone-camera photos and make them look even poorer by applying a filter?

And why is InstaGram so much better than, say, Paper Camera and whatnot already on Android? Why invest in InstaGram? Do they have a patent on a filter or something?

Perhaps I'm just getting too old ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Instagramp

No, you have it right, Instagram was/is the hipster program of choice for iPhoneographers (whatever the fsck they are) to twiddle pictures with.

Nothing that can't be done much better with any desktop photo manip package or plenty of compact digital cameras and quite a few of the 'better' camera phones that have had decent optics and resolution way back before the iPhone camera became fashionable to produce poor quality vignetted sepia 'cool' pictures from (and some gut wrenchingly bad false psychadelic colour pictures).

I'd make a small wager that the move to Android will be the end of the company as it will lose all hipster cred because the users are fickle, remember, it's only cool if you can't use it.

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Boffin

Re: Instagramp

Say what you want, the filters do actualy make your photos look better in this case (though it's quite easy to overuse the fakey tiltshift thing). _Especially_ poor pictures get quite a boost, albeit a cheap one - the filters are quite good.

But it's really not about the filters with Instagram. Not sure why people keep thinking it is a filter app. It is a social app. If you pick a filter, you agree to post the picture in your stream. There's no using the app without sharing your work – though of course you can delete the picture from your stream and keep a local copy. Nevertheless this leads to a lot of people sharing their life, their work and their art in a mainly visible manner, very similar to a picture-only twitter, that's actually put together more smartly than the filter engine.

So the company doesn't have a "stupid free filter app", it's got a close-knit, large community of people that are willing to share their art, photo's, life with this app. Many of these have a huge friendlist, and some seem to actually live off the likes on their photos.

I have no idea how to make money out of that without tearing down the community spirit, though, just addressing the 'what use is another stupid filter app'? brouhaha.

(Yup avid user myself, did you guess? Find me under @_naam).

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Excellent news

My Windows8 RGB->BGR conversion app should be ready when Windows8 launches

Although it's free - the fact that Windows has 100x as many users as iOS guarantees that my app will be worth billions.

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Trollface

poke

Well clearly this will fail on Android. No self-respecting user will get anything on their phone that was made popular by iOS. People might think they like Apple or something, and we just can't have that. No instead, someone will replicate the functionality and just give it a different name - PromptPostCard or something equally clever....oh and naturally it'll be better than the iOS version. Naturally. Now that's the Android way!

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Re: poke

Call it "notification centre" or "iCloud".

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