Facebook turned a lot of heads last month when it purchased the VPSP (visual photo-sharing platform) Instagram. Instagram is the uber famous app that allows mobile users to take pics, apply one of 18 filters to your image and then share pics with your friends on Instagram’s own social network as well as posting the doctored pics to your other favorite social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
Instagram is a really fun app and it’s become very very popular. The “look” of Instagram-filtered photos are very distinctive – the sepia and washed out tones with various frames really give the images an old timey, analog film feel that users seem to just love. It is however, strictly a mobile app. Originally available for iPhone only it just became Android accessible in the beginning of April 2012.
So when Facebook went and bought Instagram, a lot of eyebrows raised. What will Fb do with this mobile-only image sharing site?
Rumors and news around the ‘web all said nothing. As in, Facebook would not be doing anything wacky or earth-shattering with Instagram and they would leave it as is and continue to run and develop it as its own separate entity.
Personally, I was glad to hear this. I like my Instagram account and I like that it’s separate from my Fb world – and when I want them to be connected (when I want to post an Instagram image on Fb) it’s done easily enough with one little slide button (every time you post a photo you have the option to share it to Fb, the digital button slides between yes and no making the decision easy-peasy).
Today Fb mobile released a new feature: photo filters! (I read about it here, on All Facebook).
The Fb app that works on every phone, Facebook For Every Phone (sometimes referred to as the “dumb phone” app, as its the alternative to smart phone-specific apps like Fb for iPhone or the Android-specific Fb app) will now allow users to choose a black and white filter or a sepia filter to apply to pics as they’re uploaded. Along with the regular normally-colored digital images, this gives mobile Facebookers three varieties of pics they can post.
These simple filters are not an Instagram fill in or substitute by any means. Two filters vs. the 18 of Instagram is hardly a fair fight. Not to mention all the other Instagram features that this new Fb mobile update won’t carry over.
So why do it? Is it just Instagram-inspired to help non-smartphone owners get in on the fun in some small way? Probably. Some of the chatter I read online said that this move from Fb isn’t even related to their new Insta-aquisition and this new simple filter feature is a stand alone decision.
Regardless of the motivation, it seems fun to me. I hope that users who haven’t been able to experience Instagram yet (via limitations of their mobile device) have fun messing with the coloring of their photos. It will certainly add some more variety to the newsfeed for all of us, and I’m curious to see if the days to come show a huge change in how people are posting pics. (It feels like most people I know who regularly mobile upload images use Instagram anyways).
If you use Facebook For Every Phone, will you be taking advantage of the new filters?
“Facebook for Every Phone Gets Photo Filters,” (All Facebook, 2012).
“Facebook for Every Phone Gets Photo Filters à la Instagram,” (ZDNet, 2012).
“Facebook is Bringing Photo Filters To All Phones, Leveling the Instagram Advantage,” (The Next Web, 2012).
“Instagram for feature phones? Facebook adds simple photo filter options to mobile app,” (Inside Facebook, 2012).