Later today, Facebook Camera will be available as a standalone app for the iPhone. That’s probably great news for a lot of Facebook users, but on a bigger scale, Google+ and Flickr probably have good reason to be worried.
As shown in Facebook’s announcement, the new Camera app will allow both photo sharing and consumption. Users can publish multiple photos at once, rather than posting one photo at a time. They can tag friends, add a location and/or include a description. There’s also a few photo editing tools — cropping, rotating and so forth. Or, they can use the app to browse through and interact with their friends’ photos.
The app isn’t available as I type this, but here are a couple screenshots from Facebook’s announcement:
Some time ago, Facebook became the biggest photo sharing site on the web. If Facebook users are willing to use two separate apps — this, and the main Facebook iPhone/mobile app — Facebook’s grip on social photos should only increase. And don’t forget, too, that even while developing its own Camera app, Facebook also spent a hefty one billion dollars for Instagram.
Photos: The New Social Network Battleground
It’s clear that photo sharing is a big battle ground among social networks right now. Just this week, Google+ hosted a two-day conference for photographers — they’ve been one of Google+’s most ardent group of early adopters. At the event, Google’s Bradley Horowitz declared that “photos are the lifeblood of our service.” Indeed, Google’s first major overhaul of its iPhone app put a huge focus on photos earlier this month.
Flickr is also trying to capture — or hold on to, depending on your perspective — photo lovers’ attention with a couple recent improvements such as support for larger images and a new, faster photo uploader. The company has also changed some of its photo gallery pages with a more Pinterest-like look. Just this morning, in fact, Flickr announced several Group-related upgrades.
And speaking of Pinterest, it’s grown like gangbusters over the past 6-9 months and is flush with a new pile of cash. I’m betting they’ll soon announce significant upgrades to the mobile/app experience to encourage more pinning of original photos.
Who wins? Facebook has the lead right now, and between its Instagram purchase and today’s launch of its own Camera app, it’s clear the company isn’t taking its foot off the pedal.