Thoughts On Facebook Camera
In a somewhat puzzling move, Facebook has launched a new standalone iOS application called Facebook Camera, which — put simply — mimics the app it just acquired for $1 billion: Instagram.
My key takeaways:
- It’s another native app from Facebook, meaning it is slick, fast and easy to use. There are nice animations and for the most part is pretty intuitive — the opposite of its main app.
- 2048 x 2048 uploads are great, no reduction in photo quality.
- You can bulk upload photos to your Facebook account. You wouldn’t believe how many people have waited for such a feature and have previously resorted to third-party apps to do so.
- The app has been worked on for nearly a year. So no, it doesn’t really have any connection to Instagram and its team.
- If Facebook added the ability to add text status updates, it would be my default Facebook application.
- Android already has a separate camera shortcut, suggesting that an upcoming update could bring the same functionality to Android device owners.
- It app has influences from Sofa, a company that Facebook acquired last year. Its founder, Dirk Stoop, is now a product manager at the company and the person penning the company’s announcement
There are complaints that Facebook should have just waited for the Instagram deal to close. I believe that Facebook always had the intention of releasing a standalone app that trod on the toes of Instagram — but wanted to keep interactions distinctly specific.
Instagram is for your online friends, that you most don’t know. Facebook is comprised of your real-life friends who you may want to share more personal collection of photos with. It’s all about having fingers in both pies.
It also poses the question of why Facebook is releasing separate apps. Some are saying that it could mean it is to launch its own mobile device – I believe that it recognises that people use Facebook in different ways and doesn’t want to a) do too much with its main app b) position its features as completely different features of its service.
Assistance From Apple?
One of the most interesting things that I have noticed is what appears to be some input from Apple, both with the naming of the app and its near instant featured listing on the App Store:
Not only is Facebook Camera able to use ‘Camera’, the same as Apple’s default camera app, it was featured in the ‘Editors’ Choice’ section on the App Store within minutes of it going live.
Considering there is meant to be bad blood between Apple and Facebook (doesn’t help that Apple has Twitter support baked into iOS), could this mean we are about to see some more social features in iOS 6?
I don’t know, but it’s fun to speculate. It’s a nice app, it’s a shame the main app isn’t as good.