There may be a battle shaping up in the not too distant future between Instagram and Vine for the top spot in short video sharing. But despite the fact that Instagram – purchased just last year by Facebook for $1 billion – is currently ahead of the pack by virtue of the sheer size of its user base, Instagram is likewise not resting on its laurels. This was made wonderfully clear by Instagram's recent purchase of Luma.
While the terms of the deal weren't announced, the purpose behind the deal looks pretty clear in its own right. Luma is an app specifically geared toward the creation of HD video, with Luma referring to itself—and in the blog post used to announce the purchase—as a way to share “beautiful videos without expensive software or heavy equipment.” Those who already have accounts with Luma, meanwhile, are encouraged to download and save videos on the site, as the app will be shut down and its technology absorbed into Instagram, according to reports.
Instagram's arrival in the video market, meanwhile, came after Twitter's launch of the Vine micro-video app. Though Vine got to the field first, Instagram seems determined to offer an “anything you can do, I can do better” approach to competing with Vine; where Vine offers six second videos, Instagram offers 15 second videos, along with the addition of certain filters. It also includes a shake-reduction technology known as Cinema to improve the quality of the video taken. Add on to this the purchase of Luma, and it certainly suggests that Instagram wants to bulk up the range of its video offering.
While it's not yet clear just what it is Instagram plans to do with its new acquisition, the end result here suggests that it's got something in mind. No one shells out a billion dollars just to cloak plans. It would make sense that Instagram just wants to really polish the product, and would in turn be out to so do by any means available to it.
It's worth noting, however, that the technology found in Luma isn't exactly cutting edge, with new stabilizers and filters already present in several other apps. But by like token, as we've seen in many cases with patents, it's not always so much the current technology that's worth the look, but rather the future technology that can be derived from that current technology. It's not so much about what Luma has that Instagram was interested in, but what Luma has that can be made into something else.
Still, over the course of the next several months or so, it's going to be very interesting to watch and see just what Instagram does with its new purchase, and how it will becomes part of Instagram's larger overall bailiwick.
Edited by Blaise McNamee