Lightbox, Facebook Acquisitions, and the Curious Volatile State of Apps

Lightbox, Facebook Acquisitions, and the Curious Volatile State of Apps

May 22, 2012

After years of software that was rarely updated or changed, apps have created a new world in which software is strangely impermanent, and an app that someone uses regularly can disappear just like that. Lightbox is one such app: the app for sharing photographs as a photo blog has disappeared from Google Play, thanks to Facebook, who hired away its engineers, seemingly in order to improve their mobile photo sharing product, similar to why they acquired Instagram. Facebook has said that they have problems with mobile, and improving their mobile apps and services is why they’re making such moves. Lightbox is the exception among Facebook’s recent acquisitions: both Instagram and Karma are remaining in their current forms for now.

However, it’s all just a reminder, that these apps from small teams can suddenly change, and possibly disappear because they were too good, or too successful, and someone else wanted their success to be part of them. Or a major update can come along and dramatically change the way an app works. Games tend to go through this a lot. Perhaps every app we use should be used and enjoyed while we have them, because there’s just no guarantee that they will be that way tomorrow, and it’s still just a vastly new and unique thing in the world of software.