A little over a month after Facebook acquired photo-sharing hub Instagram for a reported $1 billion, the newly-public social network has released its own mobile photo app called Facebook Camera. Camera works a whole lot like Instagram: Users can snap and share photos with a few swipes of the finger, or edit the images with a range of speciality filters.
"When you launch the app, you'll see a feed of just great photos from the people you care about," Facebook reps wrote in a press release. "You can swipe to see more of any album or tap to enlarge an individual photo." Facebook Camera is currently available on the iPhone; versions for Android and other mobile operating systems may follow, although Facebook is keeping mostly mum.
So how does Facebook Camera stack up against Instagram? Well, over at Gizmodo, Sam Biddle has run a pretty comprehensive side-by-side test of both apps. Verdict: Instagram, by dint of a few added virtual filters, has a slight edge in the photo-taking department. But Facebook Camera makes uploading and sharing photographs easier, which is why most of us use an app such as Instagram or Camera in the first place.
"So long as Facebook remains the social gold standard online it makes sense for it to be the central place for your photos," Biddle writes. He adds: "With Camera, Facebook's back to being a one stop shop. Any argument for Instagram to the contrary is just contrarianism; the urge of the cool kid to do something unconventional and away from the crowd for its own sake. It's time to give in."
In recent months, photo and video sharing apps have soared in popularity. According to a recent report by analytics company Flurry, which tracked downloads on all the major mobile operating systems, the photo and video apps category grew by 89 percent between October of last year and March of this year. For the first time since the 2008 launch of the Apple App Store, Flurry reps wrote, "the Games category found itself rivaled by another category."
Not a bad time for Facebook to get into the game.
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