We all have heard about the highly debated Camera. No, not your camera, but the Camera application from Facebook. Facebook’s Camera is a “Mobile Photo sharing” application. It’s free – of course it’s free. It would make no sense for Facebook to charge for Camera when Instagram and ton of other apps are available for free. Once a person takes photos with Camera, the photos can be posted on to Facebook under the mobile uploads folder. The default view is sorted with latest photos at the top – this is really helpful. Camera tops Instagram by descoping the limit set on the photo dimensions. The user decides on the dimensions of the images. There is a cropping tool available to edit the size of the photos.
So, what is there to like about Camera? The biggest advantage of Camera is its speed. The user interface is faster than most of the mobile photo sharing apps. Batch uploads make it easier to share large number of photos. And the browsing of the photos is also faster with Camera. This is the biggest advantage of Camera over its competition. In this techno age, if it isn’t fast, then it is not useful.
And if you are someone who has been following the mobile apps world, you might wonder as to who exactly is the competition for Camera. The biggest competition Facebook has come across until now is the emergence of Instagram. Instagram has been sweeping the social networking world, with its simple to use interface and the retro look of the pictures. Instagram did not take off initially. People called it names and left it for hippies. Many insisted that Instagram had to change its filter to be a success. Instagram stuck with the filter, which gave the pictures the look and feel of lo-fi photography, and two years later, they got $1 billion richer.
While Instagram is merely a mobile photo sharing application, social networking junkies need just that. You would rather look at a text regarding status update or at a picture describing the what, how and who? If you have chosen the second option, then congratulations to you. You are thinking is very much like Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg realized that Instagram could be a threat to their social networking dominance. He had two options: either to design another mobile-photo sharing software as competitor to Instagram or buy Instagram. Well, being Mark Zuckerberg, he did both. Facebook bought Instagram and then rolled out its own mobile photo sharing software. Enter Camera.
Camera was and is designed to be a competitor to Instagram – make no mistake about it. It is highly likely that the development of Camera was already in process even before Facebook decided to buy Instagram for a whopping $1bn. But we will never know.
Is everyone ready to jump on the Facebook’s Camera bandwagon? Not really. The reason is that they are loads of free mobile photo apps that are used worldwide (Instagram is the one with largest user base). So, why would anyone choose Camera? There is a joke that is going around in the social networking circles, that even the Facebook employees prefer Instagram over Camera.
While Camera scores with its scorching speed, filtering options, batch upload and browsing abilities, it has a long way to go. People accepted Instagram for what it was – a startup software, trying to make a dent (it ended up being a big dent in Mark Zuckerberg’s wallet) in the social networking field. So, they accepted the simple interface, basic filtering available and limited options. However, people will expect more from Facebook’s Camera, just for the basic reason that, well, it’s from Facebook.
The biggest advantage and disadvantage Camera has that its authentication is controlled by Facebook. Make no mistake about it - Camera tosses you pictures from everyone in your friends list, without an option to filter out the not-so-important photos. While it is cool to browse through a ton of photos, it doesn’t serve the purpose, when your friends list exceeds the two figure mark.
Another big issue with Camera is that it requires the location to be enabled, to access the photos in the camera. Many people do not like to share the location for their photos. So this is a big drawback. One has to change the settings to show the location, in order to use Camera. Privacy issues, anyone? Well Facebook has always caused stir about privacy. Nothing is private online.
Facebook Camera is a 1.0 app—the first version of Facebook’s jab at mobile photo sharing share. Sometimes, it is unfair to compare the pros and cons of Camera with Instagram which has been on the market since 2010. It is to be noted that, for a 1.0 version of the software, Camera serves its purpose neatly.
Camera could become the new Facebook. Like I mentioned before, visual status updates are preferred by most people. In fact, some of the Web 2.0 experts have said that Camera could become a stand-alone Facebook. While that is a long way to go, it is a start. Will Camera and Instagram turn out like Google videos and YouTube? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure. Common, internet loving humans will benefit for such a competition for quality products.