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Rise of Instagram

This year the sepia-loving startup welcomed Android users into its club and grew ever more popular. After being folded into Facebook for a little less than $1 billion and with Twitter threatening to build its own photo-editing tool, next year should be an interest one for Instagram.

James Martin/CNET

The photo-filtering frenzy that is Instagram grew into a true phenomenon this past year as Android users got invited into the Instagram clubhouse. Some in the iOS crowd weren't thrilled about sharing, unleashing a Twitter war of words between the two camps. Tweets veered from whiny to borderline offensive. Those waters have since calmed, but not all is smooth sailing on the sea of Instagram.

Following the lead of feuding fans, Twitter and Instagram have gotten into it by refusing to play nice with each other. The result is a turf war that has Twitter working on its own photo-filtering system and Instagram dumping Twitter Card integration.

All this fussing has left Twitter and Instagram users caught in the crossfire, but Instagram's leadership team is sitting pretty thanks to the company being purchased by Facebook for $1 billion. The move bolstered Facebook's nearly nonexistent mobile cred. It also may help Instagram achieve its dream of moving beyond making snapshots look like they came out of 1970s photo albums and into a more versatile visual-media company.

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