So, by now, you know that Facebook Camera has launched. The UI of the app has changed a lot in the last year – we have screenshots taken from MG Siegler’s post about the app in June 2012. Since then, Facebook has acquired Instagram and Lightbox. This poses two questions:
- Why did Facebook acquire these companies if they were already working on their own app (which then proceeded to release)?
- How has Facebook’s app evolved since last June, when MG wrote the original scoop?
As far as Facebook’s recent acquisitions go, we can presume that Instagram was valuable because of its massive user base. Some of their other acquisitions, such as Sofa, look to have worked on the Camera app – the UI design is fantastic.
Here are screenshots taken from the work-in-progress app from MG’s article last year:
With a disclaimer:
A few notes: the images we have suggest that while polished, this still may be a work in progress. It’s clear that some of these mock-ups are older than other ones, given a few documents we have as well.
And here’s how the UI ended up. Quite a change, right?
The entire app has a certain “flow” about it. It’s been designed with two main purposes in mind: being able to browse all the photos your friends have shared – and sharing your own. There is a clear path through the app, starting with the way all the photos from your camera roll show up at the top of the UI, all the way through adding a custom filter or effect to your snaps and combining your images with words.
In my opinion, Facebook Camera has Sofa written all over it. I might be wrong, but it’ll be interesting to see which designers claim the work as theirs.
Instagram and Facebook
@kylesteed We said in our announcement nothing would change (aka absorbing isn’t on the horizon) hence releasing their own camera app. :)
— Jessica Zollman (@jayzombie) May 24, 2012
As far as we’ve heard on Twitter, changes to Instagram and Facebook aren’t “on the horizon.” This further helps to explain why Mark Zuckerberg had no problem with releasing Facebook Camera even though it hasn’t been all that long since Instagram was bought up for a sweet $1 billion.
Even though it looks like the Instagram community is safe (for now), it’s interesting how similar the two apps are for users. The biggest similarity between the two apps is the effects which can be applied to a photo. It was easy to spruce up my koala with just a tap.
Either way, the similarity of the two apps is staggering. It’ll be interesting to see if Instagram features gradually seep their way into Facebook’s Camera app, or if the opposite happens. Maybe they’ll merge, eventually. From a personal point of view, I currently prefer Facebook’s app to Instagram. The whole “flow” of the app seems more enjoyable and easier. It’s the little things like discoverable gestures which make using Facebook Camera fun and quirky. The little touches, too – like detecting I already have the main Facebook app on my phone and not needing me to sign in again. This touch separates a good app from a great app.
If you haven’t already, pick up the Facebook Camera app on the App Store. It’s free, naturally.