Facebook has acquired photo-sharing application Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock.

The popular app will continue to stand alone, but over time Instagram is expected to become more and more integrated with the Facebook platform.

Though far in Facebook’s rearview mirrior, Instagram has 27 million downloads on iOS alone, and some industry experts saw it as a maturing social network in and of itself. By purchasing Instagram, Facebook is both acquiring the talent that built up Instagram’s popularity, and increasing the distance between it and all other social networks.

Instagram famously did not have a revenue strategy. Even though the Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have previously said they weren’t looking to be acquired, Facebook’s massive bid, plus the ability to have more technological assets, apparently was enough to sway them otherwise.

For Facebook, this will be its first experiment with a stand-alone app. In the past the company, led by founder Mark Zuckerberg, has been insistent that all Facebook properties feed into Facebook itself.

In a blog post on the Instagram website, Systrom was adamant that despite the acquisition, “Instagram is not going away.” The app’s meteoric rise to its $1 billion acquisition is truly remarkable, given that just two years ago it didn’t exist.