Providing a strong indication that Facebook is preparing to get very serious about mobile photo sharing, the social networking leader quietly acquired Lightbox today, an Android app that puts your mobile photos on the Web.

Lighbox and its team of seven employees will relocate to Facebook immediately, and the website will be shut down on June 16. The app itself has already been pulled from the Google Play store.

Lightbox distinguished itself from other photo apps by focusing on creating a simple and elegant home for your cell phone pictures on the Web. Instead of being constrained to the app itself as with Instagram and similar apps, Lightbox users got their own URL where each of their photos would appear as distinct blog posts that could be shared, liked or commented on.

The Lightbox model is very similar to what Apple is rumored to be preparing with an overhauled version of its iCloud service, and Facebook's purchase of the app a day after reports of the new iCloud first leaked may not be a coincidence.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook incorporates Lightbox's technology, as well as that of Instagram, into its mobile and photo operations going forward. With its IPO just around the corner, clearly the company sees photo sharing as a major part of its future.

[via Tech Crunch]