Facebook Doubles Down on Mobile Photos With Camera App

Amid the confusion surrounding Facebook's worth after its recent IPO launch, one thing remains certain—it's serious about mobile and photos. That was made clear when it purchased Instagram for $1 billion on April 9, and was reinforced on May 24 when Facebook launched its stand-alone Facebook Camera application for iOS. 

The app is designed for quicker publishing than Facebook's multi-featured primary mobile app, reports TechCrunch. Users can choose from 14 Instagram-like filters and share single or batches of photos—a feature not available on Instagram. Users can also scroll through, comment on and like a mobile-optimized feed of photos uploaded to Facebook by friends and brands alike. The app was developed by Facebook's photos team without the help of Instagram because the acquisition hadn't closed yet, according to TechCrunch. 

For brands that have started using Instagram for photo sharing (and for those that were already doing so on Facebook), the same logic and benefits apply for using this new app—it's a way to connect with consumers through visuals, and make even the most mundane products or services look flat-out cool. 

“It’s no longer ‘tell me a story,’ it’s ‘show me a story,’” says Donetta Allen, VP and social media practice leader at Hunter PR. “People want to have an instant emotional connection that only a photo can give,” she says. And, for brands that are just starting to build a community on Instagram, the Camera app offers similar mobile photo functionality while delivering images to your preexisting Facebook fan base. 

At the very least, the Camera app is a faster portal into mobile photo sharing. It's worth asking, however, why Facebook would build another photo app when it just spent a $1 billion on another one. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he plans to keep Instagram and Facebook separate, but it will be interesting to see if the two apps can coexist without cannibalizing one another. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg

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