In April we speculated why Instagram was worth $1 billion to Facebook. It seems, weeks later, we finally have our answer: Facebook Camera. The app launched Thursday, May 24, and immediately was compared to the reigning photo-editing giant. With the release of Facebook Camera users are left with two platforms for photo editing needs, both which are owned by Facebook.
As a social media company, we believe it’s crucial to stay involved in all of the latest developments in technology and sharing, so naturally this latest development caught our attention.
What’s The Big Deal?
According to the Apple Store’s description:
“With Camera, you can share photos on Facebook faster than ever, and see what friends are up to in a feed of nothing but their photos.
–Post a bunch of photos at once
–See friends’ latest photos in one place
–Play with crops and filters
–Tag friends, add captions and say where you are
–See photos from different apps”
But isn’t that what Instagram already offers? The difference is in the style of sharing and the quality of the product. Instagram gained popularity as the first in its field to really take the concept of making ordinary mobile photos look professional, and Facebook Camera plays on essentially the same concept.
The Sharing Style: Friends Vs. Followers
Instagram gives users the option of selecting to post public or private profiles. A public profile in this sense is much like the style used for Twitter. Users have the option of “following” others who they think post good content. There is not an approval process, and just because User A follows User B, User B does not necessarily have to follow User A. It means that you can follow anyone you want with a public profile, not just those with whom you share personal connections.
Facebook Camera, on the other hand, operates in the traditional Facebook “friend” format. Two users who have mutually accepted a friendship on the social network will show up in each other’s respective feeds. This means that the content you access will be limited to those you are already connected to. You’ll see the same photos that appear in your newsfeed already, but with a more stylized appearance.
Bonus: Instagram allows users to connect their social networks and share to all simultaneously. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare are all connection options. Do you know what that means? Instagram is already sharing on your Facebook account if you want it to. Two birds with one metaphorical stone, if you will.
Quality: Filtering Out The Good From The Bad
Instagram gives users 18 basic filters to apply, along with blurring and border options. The names are relatively creative, and the editing quality dramatic. The filters and blur options add an artistic quality to the service aside from just improving the image.
Facebook Camera has 15 filters. That’s about it. The filters primarily highlight different elements of the image and focus on lighting. A quick breeze through the line of filters makes it obvious that the focus is improving the basic, visual quality without the artistic element.
And The Winner Is…
Facebook clearly comes out on top. No, not Facebook Camera: the company itself. Owning both Instagram and Facebook Camera means that the social network has purchased its greatest competition and now has the ability to control its promotion. Facebook can choose to promote both platforms simultaneously, singularly, or scrap one of the apps all together. It seems that Instagram has the stronger case for surviving such elimination.
It’s far too likely that Facebook Camera will go the way of Google Video after the acquisition of YouTube and disappear quietly into the night.