Instagram is a free iPhone app that lets you modify and enhance photos by applying filters to photos. The service, which is less than a year old, already has a community of over 8 million users who share the altered images with their friends.
Facebook reportedly tried to acquire Instagram over the summer, according to two Facebook engineers cited by The New York Times. Since the deal clearly didn't go through, the company has been working on its own series of photo filters. The social network plans to add to them to its own mobile app in order to compete with Instagram.
The new feature has been supposedly ready for some time, but Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked for more filters to be created and added before release. Facebook is expected to introduce almost a dozen photo filters, including some that are similar to Instagram's old-style camera lenses and grainy film, as well as new styles of filters to set itself apart from other photo apps.
If this information proves true, it will be difficult for Facebook to compete with Instagram because the app is very well designed, and already has a niche group of users that simply love it. On the flip side, Facebook is not only the world's biggest social network, but it also has the most popular mobile app on the planet, and the biggest repository of photos on the Internet.