Amateur mobile-photographers with a penchant for spicing up their images might have another option in the coming months. According to the New York Times, Facebook is planning on jumping into the photo-filtering game.
The Times quotes two anonymous Facebook engineers who say photo-filtering functionality is coming soon to the Facebook mobile app. In June, rumors swirled about a standalone photo sharing app from Facebook, but this will not be a separate app - just a feature according to the engineers.
Right now, the photo-filtering game is dominated by services like Hipstamatic and the insanely popular Instagram. If you want to know how popular mobile-photo-filtering has become, just look at the Instagram stats: 7 million users, 150 million+ photos shared and 15 photos shared per second. They aren't even to their one-year launch anniversary.
With the ridiculous volume of photos that Facebook handles daily, you can see why this seems like a more than logical move.
According to the anonymous engineers, the new feature is ready, but Zuckerberg wants to launch it with more filters. They plan to launch with around a dozen photo-filters, many like Instagram and Hipstamatic's - old-timey lens effects, sepia tones, black and white, grainy film, etc.
Apparently, Facebook wants to launch new types of filters as well in order to draw people away from services like Instagram.
Filtering your photos is fun and all, but the way Instagram has succeeded early on is by providing more than a simple photo-filtering app. When used properly, Instagram is basically its own self-contained social network. Sure, Instagram allows you to share your modified pics on Twitter and Facebook, but the app itself is equipped with social features.
For instance, there is a news feed of recent friend activity, following functionality like Twitter, a "heart" button that amounts to a "like" button, comments, and even a global feed of popular photos.
Of course, Facebook is the number one social network - so adding filtering capabilities on top of that is sure to be a hit.
But a service like Instagram how a pretty loyal following and a service like Hipstamatic allow users to manipulate photos with a little more detail and a dozen basic filters. Because of this, Facebook's photo-filtering might not kill these apps, but it will definitely take a pretty big piece of the pie.
Also, remember: Facebook isn't the only big name getting into this game. It has been hinted that iOS 5 might be getting its own photo filtering capabilities.[Image Courtesy Instagram blog]