Is Facebook Competing With Itself With Photo-Sharing App?

Newly public Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is launching a standalone photo-sharing mobile app that the social network developed independently of its $1 billion acquisition, Instagram. Facebook Camera will let users get a steady stream of photos from their contacts on the site. The app, which is slated to be available for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS devices on the App Store later on Thursday, also includes Instagram-like filters. Instagram is also available for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones in addition to the iPhone.

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“Now you can quickly share multiple photos all at once instead of having to post one at a time,” Facebook product manager Dirk Stoop wrote in a blog post. “It’s also easy to edit photos with new tools like the ability to crop, rotate and add filters to any picture in your camera roll.”

Facebook made a lot of news when it agreed to buy Instagram for a combination of $300 million in cash and nearly 23 million shares. According to Facebook’s Thursday share price of $32.38, the stock is now worth about $745 million. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Development work on its new app had to have been on for a while, which obviously leads to the idea that Facebook was seeking to create an Instagram competitor before it bought out what it was looking to fight. Photos in Facebook Camera will span the entire width of the iPhone’s screen and will allow users to comment and “Like” photos directly from the stream.

Facebook’s mobile integration has always been considered somewhat unwieldy and its ability to monetize the growing use of the social network through mobile devices has been under question. Mobile advertising issues was one of the reasons Facebook gave for adding a revenue caution in its prospectus for investors before launching its IPO and is an argument made by analysts wary of the company’s long-term profitability.

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