Sunday, June 10, 2012
Why Facebook has won the mobile photo war
From the early days of the commercial web, one thing has been clear: photos are big on the Internet. All of us love photos. We love taking photos. We love sharing photos. They are the basic unit of digital emotion. Facebook understood this early on, and knew that when combined with its social graph, photos could be their one-way ticket to unending engagement and thus commercial success. Instagram was attacking Facebook’s Achilles’ heel — mobile photo sharing – so they bought the company, for a billion dollars. And in doing so, Facebook has pretty much won the war for mobile photo sharing.
When the news broke this past weekend that picplz, a mobile photo sharing app and service, was shutting down, it was a rude reminder of the Darwinian nature of the mobile app landscape. And picplz isn’t going to be the only mobile photo app to vanish into the mists of time. The reason for their misfortunes is none other than Facebook.
There are two main reasons why Facebook is a dominant Internet company. One, it is the first cross-platform and truly global identity provider. Second, it is the most constantly updated photo album on the planet. That is why photos are Facebook’s lifeblood.
Photos are the reason many of us continue to engage with Facebook. Facebook has tried many verbs to increase and maintain our engagement with the service – read, listen, watch. But in the end, it’s the photos that work wonders for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social-networking giant.
One of the biggest (and many) shortcomings of Facebook’s mobile app is that it wasn’t simple enough for us to snap photos, share them and engage around them. Instead, what we got was a tired, convoluted little app. Facebook being Facebook knew that and had been quietly working on a mobile photo-sharing app called Camera that currently works on the iPhone.
The release of the Camera app came a few weeks after Facebook announced that it was going to acquire Instagram for about $1 billion in stock and cash. While many were confused as to why Facebook would have two mobile photo apps, in reality, it is a masterful move by Mark Zuckerberg & Company. Let me explain.
Go to GIGAOM for the explanation. Most interesting it is too.