May 16, 2012, 3:37 PM

Facebook nabs the team behind photo-sharing social network Lightbox

The talent grab will enhance Facebook’s mobile offerings, one expert says.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Facebook appears to be on the hunt for mobile photo sharing talent, bringing onboard the team behind photo-oriented social network Lightbox. Lightbox made the announcement on its web site.

“Today we’re happy to announce that the Lightbox team is joining Facebook, where we’ll have the opportunity to build amazing products for Facebook’s 500+ million mobile users,” write Thai Tran and Nilesh Patel, co-founders of Lightbox. “We started Lightbox because we were excited about creating new services built primarily for mobile, especially for the Android and HTML5 platforms, and we’re honored that millions of you have downloaded the Lightbox Photos app and shared your experiences with the Lightbox community.”

However, according to Tran and Patel, Facebook is not buying Lightbox. Rather, Lightbox will cease operations June 15 and the Lightbox team will begin working for Facebook.

“Facebook is not acquiring the company or any of the user data hosted on Lightbox.com,” Tran and Patel write. “In the coming weeks, we will be open sourcing portions of the code we’ve written for Lightbox and posting them to our Github repository.”

Github is an online resource where mobile developers can access free computer code they can use in their development work.

Facebook did not reply to a request for comment. Lightbox could not be reached for comment.

“This is an interesting move,” says Chris Silva, mobile analyst at technology research and consulting firm Altimeter Group. “This makes things cleaner for Facebook to immediately put those resources to work to continue to burnish the mobile tools bearing Facebook’s brand. It seems Lightbox’s talent in-house and perhaps some coming innovations the public was not privy to drove the move.”

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