Facebook, Instagram and sharing photos “by default”: A huge opportunity →∞ Sat, 14 Apr 2012 · Comments
Of everything’s that’s been written about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, I find Amit Runchal’s take to be the most thoughtful and realistic (it’s a bit older now as I’m still catching up on the news I missed while working on this website design). Especially this part:
Instagram isn’t an app for Facebook. It becomes a part of the phone, in the same way that the native camera app is for the iPhone. But it’s not just a camera app. In the world of Facebook it’s an order of magnitude better. It’s not about megapixels. It’s not about filters. It’s an entirely different way of thinking about the camera app. Sharing could be built in. The camera is the feed and the feed is the camera.
Exactly. That also occured to me earlier, when I watched Google’s Project Glass concept video. When the guy takes a photo, he doesn’t have to bring up a dedicated menu to share it; instead, two buttons pop up immediately after snapping a picture: share to Google+, or cancel. It’s an entirely different interaction process. The user doesn’t have to consciously decide “I want to share this photo” anymore, which implies that not sharing is the default action. With the Project Glass concept, however, sharing becomes default.
I think that’s a huge opportunity, as it completely reimagines the way people think about photos. It’s part of the appeal of Instagram, which allows one to share photos in real-time, something that isn’t possible with traditional cameras. But Instagram is only a third-party app right now; installing – and using – it instead of the built-in camera app in the first place still constitutes a huge barrier to sharing photos “by default”. The solution:
But a camera that pushes everything to Instagram? A camera that is Instagram?
It might seem ridiculous, but I think it’s a brilliant idea. Suddenly, the $1 billion price tag doesn’t seem high anymore. It would be a paradigm shift, just like the shift from analog photography to digital, which eliminated the step of having to select which photos to keep and print out (anyone still remember those times?). With digital photography, you could just keep every photo, and have them all available for viewing at anytime. Now, with sharing by default, you don’t have to pick and choose which photos you want to share with your friends anymore; it just happens automatically, requiring little to no user interaction.
You won’t need to organize your photo library anymore. It all happens in the cloud, where your photos are automatically uploaded, tagged, and become sortable by date, arranged in a timeline-view… the potential for a Facebook phone that does this is enormous.