It looks like Facebook is trying to bring improvements to its mobile interfaces on all fronts (except the one that really matters that is. The main app is still buggy). Yesterday, we reported that Facebook is looking to expand its Messenger app to the iPad as well as integrate video chatting abilities to the Messenger app for iPhones. Remember, Facebook bought messaging company Beluga to bring you the Messenger application. Now, we're finally seeing what Facebook intends to do with its $1 billion purchase of photo sharing service, Instagram. On the Facebook App for Every Phone, you will now be able to edit your photos using Sepia and Greyscale filters similar to the ones you could use in Instagram. However, it must be clarified that Instagram had nothing to do with the addition of these filters; the move is most likely an indication of what's to come. According to Inside Facebook, the filters were created by an engineer at an internal hackathon.
Grey and sepia for now, more later?
It's interesting that the update came out first on the Every Phones app, which is a Facebook application that works on Java- based phones. The app is by no means basic; Facebook added the ability to check-in to Places and made it possible for users to interact with Pages last month. This app is particularly important for engaging users in India and countries in Africa where Java-based phones are quite popular. According to a filing that Facebook made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, there are around 83 million monthly active users on the Facebook for Every Phone app.
This move makes the Instagram acquisition a little more intriguing as well. The New York Times reported in August of last year that Facebook was looking to integrate features into its photo sharing abilities similar to those of Instagram. If they had launched filters in their photo uploading and publishing features prior to acquiring Instagram, as any battle in the tech world goes, a lawsuit from Instagram would knock on Facebook's door. However, now Facebook is free to use Instagram's concept of editing photos and sharing them in one place. When Facebook made the announcement of the Instagram acquisition, they made it clear that Instagram's features would stay more or less the same and they had no immediate plans to shut down the photo sharing service. It will be interesting to see if the filters come to the upload photo sections in the Facebook smartphone apps. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see if the already buggy apps will allow for such photo editing or if users will just stick to Instagram.