Remember the time when Facebook, well Mark Zuckerberg specifically, went and bought Instagram for a whopping one billion dollars? Of course you do – no doubt you all read our blog on it at the time.
That rather excellent piece focused more on Instagram’s huge success than the motivations behind the purchase. Theories have abounded of course – expand Facebook’s arsenal, take out a potential competitor, felt like it – but overall people were less concerned with why it was bought, and more worried about what Facebook might do to everyone’s favourite photo-sharing app.
‘The Zuck’ said at the time – and I quote:
For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.
“We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
“That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people. [Emphasis added]
Sounds good, right?
So why, then, did Facebook go and release THIS?
It hasn’t exactly opened to rave reviews. Mashable’s Christina Warren describes it as “an Instagram clone – and a second rate one at that”, while Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa reckons its clumsy interface and inferior filters make it feel “like something someone developed long before Instagram and was crushed out of existence.”
He’s half right. No Instagram employees’ brains were harmed during the making of this app: Facebook was working on Camera long before the Instagram purchase. So why release it when they already own a great product? Perhaps they thought “heck, we put so much time and effort into this – we may as well put it out.” That makes about as much sense as Te Papa buying the Mona Lisa, then placing it next to a display consisting entirely of the ‘nek minnit’ video on loop.
Unless, of course, there’s a whole other motive. Some wonder if Facebook might be thinking of switching all Instagram’s users over to Camera. Let’s hope not.
Alternatively Digital Trends, in a piece on how Instagram grew 78 percent from March to April, had a fascinating and “speculative” theory. It goes like this: with Instagram’s purchase (and the millions of users they bought with it), Facebook’s new mobile apps (Camera, Messenger and Pages Manager, the latter also released last week), and the rumours about them buying internet browser Opera, could it be that Facebook are building toward the launch of their very own phone?
If so, then Facebook might just want to stick with Instagram, rather than Camera, if they want that launch to go better than their IPO.
What do you think – will you be trying out the new Camera app, or sticking with Instagram? Sound off in the comments or over on Facebook – if you dare!