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“We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience,” Zuckerberg said.

Tech bloggers and analysts immediately began wondering whether Facebook’s commitment will be eternal.

“There’s a long history of companies acquiring other companies and saying that they are going to continue to support the service _ and then not,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with research firm eMarketer.

One relatively recent example is Cisco Systems Inc., which killed off the much-loved Flip video camera less than two years after buying the company behind it.

There were some mutterings online about users leaving Instagram now that Facebook has bought it, though in reality Facebook will probably make it more popular.

There’s a good reason for Facebook to keep Instagram going as a separate product, even if Facebook integrates some of its technology into its own service so that mobile photo sharing becomes easier. Google, for example, has kept YouTube separate even as it integrated some of its features into other products.

“Look at who Facebook is competing with _ the Googles, Apples, Microsofts of the world. They have to build a strong brand and strong consumer platform,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau said. “Having a separate social network … is something they needed to do a long time ago.”