Did Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg get a good deal last week when he bought Instagram for $1 billion — a deal he apparently negotiated on his own, even before telling his board of directors?
Only time will tell whether a nifty app that turns crisp digital photos into old-Instamatic-like snapshots is worth that kind of money, even for the millions of users Instagram already has.
For people like me, Instagram is surprisingly compelling, and I've enjoyed posting photos with it for much of the last year.
The app, on my iPhone, is also a convenient place to track the travels and scenes from the lives of my friends and family who post pictures there. The company recently launched an Android version, too.
And if Instagram works out as one more way to keep people hooked on Facebook, maybe Zuckerberg will find himself on the hunt for a video version of the service — something like Viddy, by Viddy Inc.
Viddy, which has been rocketing in popularity, does with videos what Instagram does with still photos. The free app for Apple devices lets you post short videos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr, and you can sign up using a Facebook or Twitter account.
Posting videos as you would any tweet or Facebook entry, you can share the events of your day as they happen. Or you can push snippets of saved videos through the app's effects filters to your friends, followers and, if you choose, the world of other Viddy users.
Videos are limited to 15 seconds — the visual analog of a 140-character tweet.
Those effects can, for example, render a sharp digital recording into something that looks for all the world as if it came out of a Super 8 movie camera, circa 1974, scratched film and all. If you want it, the app will automatically attach a musical soundtrack to your video.
There are additional effects available for download, including 3D effects and additional filters for retro film looks, overexposures, fish-eye-lens views, and so on.
Many of these are free, others cost 99 cents or more.