Facebook creates own Instagram

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Facebook has released its own standalone photo-sharing app, putting its $1 billion purchase of Instagram into focus.

Facebook Camera was released yesterday for iOS and was reportedly in development long before the social network's acquisition of Instagram. The new app essentially creates a photo-centric Facebook, and follows closely in both design and concept from the likes of Instagram and even Google+'s new mobile app to some extent.

When opening the app, users are shown a feed of recent photos uploaded by friends, with the option of swiping to see more of a specific album or to enlarge any image.

Users can take and upload multiple images at once from within the app. Like Instagram, there is the option of adding filters (there is a choice of 15 at the moment) and otherwise editing the images.

Images can also be edited and shared directly from the user's photo gallery. Since it is a Facebook app, users can tag Facebook friends in images and share to their profiles immediately, while also 'liking' and commenting on images from within the app.

According to reports, Facebook Camera was originally going to head-to-head with Instagram in the photo-sharing space. Critics have already noted that, while Facebook Camera is a decent app, it would not have been enough to compete. The filters currently pale in comparison to those of Instagram, and it lacks some of Instagram's functionality.

Mashable's Christina Warren comments: “After the release of Facebook Camera, I'm even more convinced that Instagram could be Facebook's YouTube - in other words, an acquisition that becomes monumentally important to its future, and helps it solve a problem it couldn't solve on its own (like Google Video before Google bought YouTube.)”

It is widely expected that Instagram functionality will soon be better incorporated, and the current version of the Facebook Camera is just a taste of things to come. It is, however, clear that Facebook is making a play for complete dominance of the mobile photo-sharing space.

At the time of the acquisition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasised that Instagram would remain a standalone application. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom also said: “With the support and cross-pollination of ideas and talent at a place like Facebook, we hope to create an even more exciting future for Instagram and Facebook alike.”

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