When Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion, the nation collectively baulked at the move. The purchase became much more understandable, however, when the social network released its Facebook Camera for iOS about six weeks later.
Mark Zuckerberg and company had been developing the new app even before making the offer for Instagram, which seems to suggest that Facebook would have been planning to compete with the trendy mobile photo uploader. With this in mind, purchasing Instagram was a good move on the part of Facebook, which in recent months has been pushing its plans to become a cornerstone web company.
Instagram: Integral to the Future of Facebook
There are many who worried that Instagram?s new administrator would alter the user experience, and even more who couldn?t understand how the multimedia start-up could possibly be worth the steep price tag. However, the purchase is remnant of Google?s acquisition of YouTube, a move which helped Google Video move forward in a way it couldn?t have done alone. That is to say, Google Video ? wonderful as it is ? wasn?t much competition for YouTube.
The same is true of Facebook?s camera application ? it?s okay on its own, but it didn?t stand much of a chance up against Instagram. In fact, some would say that Facebook?s new Camera for iOS is something of an Instagram copycat, and a substandard one.
Mobility is Key for Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg has promised that once the company hammers the kinks out of its highly publicized IPO, its first move will to be to improve mobile CRM offerings for SmartPhone users. In order to achieve the kind of mobile dominance to which the company seems to aspire, Facebook must fine-tune its plans for the future.
The company would do well to sit down and consider whether it?s really a good idea to release a camera mobile app so soon after purchasing the better-implemented competition. Being the dominant mobile web brand requires a bit more than merely releasing half-baked versions of other applications.
Perhaps a better move would have been to merge Instagram?s photo-only browsing capabilities into the main mobile Facebook app, allowing users the ability to check out just a photostream of their friends? uploads. Facebook?s mobile improvements should begin with the social network?s main iOS application.
Facebook May Triumph Yet
Even if Facebook seems to be hemming and hawing its way toward aspirations of an indomitable mobile presence, the company?s potential for greatness is not to be denied.
The new app does allow iPhone users to stream just their friends? Facebook photo uploads, even if they have to download an extra application to do it. The stream also integrates photos uploaded from other apps, so users can view photos newly uploaded to Facebook, Foodspotting, Camera+, and even Instagram in one place.
Instead of using its vast resources to make copies of other applications, Facebook would do well to apply is strengths to the services it already provides.
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