Big news in the tech world today as a few hours ago Facebook unveiled it’s stand alone photography app Facebook Camera. In a week that has already seen Facebook dominate the headlines with their IPO, the arrival of Facebook Camera might seem overshadowed, but with Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram for a cool $1 Billion, some people are scratching their heads.
But the answers start to make sense as they trickle out. Dirk Stoop, Facebook Camera’s product manager says that the company has been working on the photo app for quite some time and seeing as the acquisition of Instagram still isn’t a done deal (apparently), it makes sense to drop the app. Stoop also says that the apps are meant to be completely separate products with separate personalities and features, so don’t worry: Instagram isn’t going anywhere, yet.
So let’s get down to the brass tacks (can you say that about apps?) – what’s the difference? Well, according to Wired, with FBCamera we still get the oh so popular filters that people have come to love with Instagram because, really, what’s photography without making your photos look crappy before people see them? But that’s about where the similarities end. As the program is a stand alone app it’s free to have some breathing room in the creativity department, and with Instagram as a big brother it’s clear Facebook has learned a thing or two.
FBCamera opens to your camera roll allowing you to quickly share photos you’ve taken – no fumbling or searching for a gallery button while your big thumbs hurriedly poke to post Akon photos. Another advantage is that while your photos will upload to your Mobile album on Facebook, the app keeps them native in a smart, good-looking, non-stop feed so you can easily see what everyone has been up to. Of course per Facebook you can tag friends and let everyone know your exact location at the time of taking the photo (and make sure the robbers know you’re at Dairy Queen and not at home). The app also pulls in all photos from your Facebook feed and from other apps your friends use and displays them in the main feed, which is pretty neat.
But why would Facebook really do this? Well, the company boasts a 900 million user base compared to Instagram’s meager 40 million users and wants as much usage as possible, so it makes sense. My first impression of the app are two-fold. 1) The app pulls in FB photos, which means you see some very dumb, grainy, internet photos that aren’t actually “sharing memories” as Dirk Stoop said he hopes the app will be used. However, you would see these on FB proper anyway, so who cares really. 2) Literally the first image that loaded when I downloaded and opened the app was an Instagram photo. So now we won’t only see everyone’s Hefe-filtered Starbucks on Instagram as well as Facebook; we’ll see the exact same photo on Facebook Camera also. Awesome!