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Facebook yesterday launched a stand alone ‘Camera’ app that allows users to post photos from their phone to their timeline easily and quickly. Sharing moments often means sharing multiple photos, which seems to be the main focus of ’Camera’. The application has a news feed like the native Facebook iOS app but the focus this time is on your friends photos. You can like, tag and comment on photos using super easy interfaces. The general reception is that ‘Camera’ is a very simple and nicely designed application.
Upon downloading ‘Camera’, you are asked if you want to continue as your Facebook profile if you have the native application on your phone. Alternately you can sign in using your credentials. The landing screen shows a few of your own photos along the top. Directly underneath, by default you see your friends photos which you scroll downwards to view more. Click ‘Me’ to see all the photos of you – ie those photos you have been tagged in.
To add a photo, simply click the camera icon and take a picture or select or multi select from your phones photo gallery. ‘Camera’ comes with simple graphic editing tools to crop and filter (14 filters in all – very Instagram like) your photo. Click on the ‘Write Post’ icon to write about this photo. In this area you can choose to add more photos if you like and check in at the location with whomever you’re with.
Photo sharing is becoming a bigger and bigger aspect of social networking and Facebook hadn’t really anything in this space until their purchase of Instagram. With Instagram at an established stage and the potential to keep growing, it was the right time for Facebook to jump in and acquire a great service and some talented individuals behind it. ’Camera’ has clear ties to Instagram. It was likely in development before Facebook decided to buy Instagram, and it even looks a good bit like Instagram. Since the acquisition deal has not closed yet, that team did not work on ‘Camera’, but Facebook was clearly influenced by it. ‘Camera’ seems to be in direct response to Google + which recently released photo centric apps for iphone and Android. Facebook needed to jump in.
The decision to create a seperate stand alone app is perhaps an indictation of Facebooks intent. Would it not be better to have this functionality in it’s own native app? It’s an indication that the company is looking to expand, offering more services and features than a simple social network provides. Their sights seem set beyond the horizon, finding new ways to expand its sphere of influence beyond its current membership of 900 million users. Expect Facebook to create more stand alone apps like ‘Camera’ expanding on a feature in a way that many non members will find appealing.