Facebook acquires mobile photo sharing startup Lightbox

Facebook acquires mobile photo sharing startup Lightbox

Summary: Facebook has acquired mobile photo sharing startup Lightbox for an undisclosed sum. Unlike the Instagram acquisition, this is like all of Facebook's other buys: it's all about the employees.


Facebook has acquired the employees from Lightbox, a London-based startup that developed a mobile photo sharing Android app. Essentially, the Lightbox Photos app was designed to replace your Android camera app by hosting the photos from your Android device in the cloud. I say this in the past tense because Lightbox has already been removed from the Google Play store.

The service will remain functional until June 15. If you are a Lightbox user, you can download your photos from here: lightbox.com/export.

Lightbox has seven employees and all of them are moving to work for the social networking giant. Additional details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but this appears to be a mainly talent acquisition; Facebook will not be getting user data previously held by the service.

"The Lightbox team has incredible experience developing innovative mobile products that people love," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming this world-class team of engineers to Facebook."

Here's the full announcement from Lightbox:

We started Lightbox because we were excited about creating new services built primarily for mobile, especially for the Android and HTML5 platforms, and we're honored that millions of you have downloaded the Lightbox Photos app and shared your experiences with the Lightbox community.

Today, we're happy to announce that the Lightbox team is joining Facebook, where we'll have the opportunity to build amazing products for Facebook's 500+ million mobile users.

This means we're no longer accepting new signups. If you're an existing user, you can continue to use Lightbox.com until June 15 and you can download your photos from here.

Facebook is not acquiring the company or any of the user data hosted on Lightbox.com. In the coming weeks, we will be open sourcing portions of the code we've written for Lightbox and posting them to our Github repository.

We'd like to thank the Lightbox community, our investors, and our families for supporting us during this journey.

Thai Tran & Nilesh Patel Co-founders, Lightbox

If you're interested in Lightbox's code, watch this page: github.com/lightbox.

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • This too??

    I thought Facebook just bought Instagram too. What was the purpose of buying both? Is Instagram Twitter-specific or can it be used elsewhere?
    James Keenan
    • Different platforms.

      Remember that Instagram was iOS-only for a long time before its Android app while Lightbox is Android-only. Again, it's about the talent.
      • What are you smoking?

        They may have different apps for different platforms but they are THE SAME SERVICE (with minor differences).
    • Purpose?? Simple answer

      Facebook is making a killing selling your pictures as stock photos. This is a very well known fact.