Will Facebook’s new Camera app make Instagram irrelevant?

Facebook has launched their new photo sharing app Camera just weeks after completing the £1 billion takeover of photo sharing app maker Instagram.

Camera, which is available for free on iPhone, has various similarities to Instagram, including cropping, rotation and the use of filters.

Further, whereas the old Facebook mobile app only allowed one photo to be uploaded at a time, Camera can accommodate multiple photos simultaneously.

There are two main reasons for Camera’s existence. One is numbers-based: with approximately 40 million Instagram users compared to 900 million Facebook users; it’s a no-brainer that Facebook would want to tap into the larger number, even though many Instagram users will also have Facebook accounts.

Yet Instagram shares to all major social media; it could be argued Facebook would prefer to have their own app which streamlined subsequent traffic through Facebook alone – cornering the photo sharing market and maybe killing off Instagram in the process.

Secondly, it is part of Facebook’s remit to improve its mobile app – the one thing CEO Mark Zuckerberg picked out to investors before the company’s much-vaunted IPO. This makes sense - according to the New York Times, the filters Camera deploys were developed by Facebook and had no input from Instagram.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom wrote on the company’s blog after the takeover that they were “psyched to be joining...and excited to build a better Instagram for everyone”.

But is Instagram at risk? Probably not, even though for those who are frequently on Facebook and post photos to Instagram, Camera would cut out the middle man. Zuckerberg stated that following the takeover he had no intention of shutting Instagram down.

It’ll take plenty of persuasion for users to abandon Instagram if Camera’s official App Store page is anything to go by, with comments ranging from “[a] weak version of Instagram” to “all these instant filter cams are only so-so”.

How will this development play out in the next few months? Is Camera a genuine complement to Instagram or will they compete in the same market?


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