Camera, Facebook’s brand new photo sharing app, is built to do precisely the same thing as its wildly popular stepsister, but it feeds directly into Facebook rather than into Instagram’s walled garden, population 40 million and growing. It may not officially have Instagram DNA, but Facebook Camera offers up a palette of 14 filters to please any budding mobile photog, though they sport more literal labels (“Neon” and “Golden”) than in Instagram’s own moody toolkit.
Tinker with your photo (you know you want to crop it into a square, go ahead), apply a filter to set the tone, tag a friend and send it straight to Facebook. Like Instagram photos on Facebook, it’ll appear on your Timeline at full-width – and fast. Facebook Camera, which was built independently of Kevin Systrom and co., runs circles around the regular Facebook app in terms of speed and navigability. If you mainly use Facebook to share photos with friends, Facebook Camera is a sleek, lightweight way to beam your pictures to the social network – but it’s no Instagram.
Or Is It?
Facebook Camera takes more than a few cues from the photo sharing service we all know and love, but it’s got a leg up with that whole 90-plus-million-strong active userbase. But why did Facebook make its very own Instagram at all? Facebook has been building this app for the better part of a year, since well before it successfully put the moves on Instagram. In fact, at least some photo filter features were ready to roll last August, according to engineers involved with the project.
Facebook couldn’t just sit on its hands while Instafever spread like so much Toaster-tinted wildfire. As the company made a move for the photo sharing app, it was smart to develop its own in parallel – it certainly has the resources to do so. Facebook Camera was insurance that the king of social won’t look like a lumbering giant next to the hot photo filtering craze that has all the social media whippersnappers in a tizzy. Instagram innovated, and gave us something we didn’t know we needed until there we were, huddled over an iPhone screen tweaking a teensy square photo with the zeal of a less digital artist. As ReadWriteWeb Editor-at-Large Dan Frommer puts it, “Facebook bought Instagram because it’s doing something new and different that’s special; because it represented the biggest existing threat to Facebook.” It wanted to assure us that, as the true sovereign of social, it can meet the evolving needs of its vast kingdom – there’s no need to let our eyes wander.
Is Facebook's new app Insta-redundant? The polished little in-house photo app – which was developed independently of the Instagram team – must have been burning a hole in Facebook’s pocket. And the company might as well siphon off Instagrammers while it watches the clock – they’ll all end up in the same place anyhow.
Beyond Instagram, Facebook Camera also throws some elbows in the direction of Google+’s slick photo features. Google+ is still floundering when it comes to engaging users, but the site has a dedicated base of photogs who enjoy tools like Instant Upload and the large lightbox photo view, which Facebook mixed into its own recipe in February.
Camera isn’t Facebook’s only spinoff app. Last year it released Messenger, another service that serves its purpose far better than the Facebook app itself. Just like with the ill-fated Pool Party and the advent of Google+, there likely isn’t room for two.
It’s hard to say what Facebook will do with its new set of photo sharing nesting dolls. Once the Instagram buy goes through (assuming it’s smooth sailing), the social giant will have the choice of integrating the two, or deep sixing one altogether. And after Instagram’s loyalist outcry, it’d be wise to handle both the popular product and the brand with kid gloves. May the best-loved app win.
Twitter has raised the bar for recruiting the best and brightest developers, and without any real costs. Instead, the company’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA) appeals to a cause near and dear to many of today’s best developers: Refusing to weaponize software patents.
If you’re wondering how developers feel about software patents, Andy Baio’s take is instructive. Baio, a former Yahoo, helped Yahoo file several patents and has lived to regret it. “Yahoo’s lawsuit against Facebook is an insult to the talented engineers who filed patents with the understanding they wouldn’t be used for evil. Betraying that trust won’t be forgotten, but I doubt it matters anymore. Nobody I know wants to work for a company like that.”
Pragmatism Meets Idealism
As much as many developers would like to see software patents abolished altogether, it’s unlikely that’s going to happen. It’s certainly not likely enough that a company like Twitter can ignore the possibility that it will be a target for software patent suits.
Twitter can’t simply sit out the patent arms race, as much as it might like to. But what it can do is strike a policy that both protects the company and assures developers their inventions and cooperation won’t be used against them. Thus, the IPA.
A defensive patent portfolio, that developers can be assured will be used only to defend against software patent assaults or with their permission, strikes the perfect balance. The company doesn’t have to antagonize its employees, and it doesn’t have to be left totally vulnerable to lawsuits.
As Yahoo has shown, an assurance that patents will be used defensively has to be put down in writing. Management changes, sometimes very rapidly. A company’s position on software patents can flip overnight – so developers can’t rely on verbal assurances that software patents won’t be used offensively.
Why Every Company Should Adopt the IPA
The agreement put forth by Twitter, or something very much like it, should become industry standard for a number of reasons:
1. Companies that adopt the IPA are going to have a competitive edge over companies that do not. If a developer has the option to work on two interesting projects, with similar pay and perks, the knowledge that their work won’t be used against them in the future is likely to be a persuasive tie-breaker.
2. Companies that adopt the IPA are less likely to need incentive plans to convince developers to file for patents. As Baio wrote, Yahoo helped amass its arsenal with a “patent incentive program” that awarded “sizable bonuses to everyone who took the time to apply.” With an IPA in place, employers can make a much stronger case to employees that they should help with patent applications.
3. It could ultimately reduce the number of pure-play patent trolls that buy up software patents from failing and desperate companies. What’s the only thing worse than a competitor with a patent portfolio? A litigation company with no products but patent suits and every incentive to file nuisance actions, with little downside for failure.
4. The IPA can act as a poison pill for the patent portfolios of companies that don’t succeed. They can still sell off patents for companies that wish to have a defensive portfolio – but the patents couldn’t be used offensively without the inventor’s permission.
The Next Step
Twitter’s IPA is a good step, but the company should go one step further. Not long ago, a group of companies that were involved in Linux development created the Open Invention Network (OIN). The idea is simple: Form a patent pool that lets any company attacked use the patents for defense, but the companies in the pool cannot sue another for patent infringement.
A larger patent pool is in order, and Twitter could get the ball rolling. Any company that offers the IPA to its employees for all current and future patents should be able to join the patent pool. Assuming Twitter gets some traction with the IPA, it could start a trend that helps curtail the systemic abuse of software patents.
Ultimately, that’s good for Twitter – and for any company that looks to make its money by innovation rather than litigation. And that’s good for the entire industry.
Article originally publised on ReadWriteWeb
The Movie released on Wednesday and as it was Diwali time – We were too rushed about the work at hand and a lot of things to do, I booked the tickets for Sunday with my BFFs.
The Sunday finally turned out to be my turn to watch Ra.One after a long super Diwali vacation I had.
Although being negativily publicized and criticized for its exaggerated IMC plan, the VFX applied, The second half being boring and what not, I believe the Movie stands upfront in all the aspects to become a complete Bollywood Blockbuster. I will never go with collections it has made, but the way it has portrayed itself – is a rare commoditized combination of the ultra-modern graphics, the Indian Niceness coupled with a few fun loving scenes. The storyline makes you feel that we still believe in making this world a nicer place with the essence of Good winning over bad. Obviously, we have our own views on how the movie would have been with some scenes added and subtracted but I can say that SRK again has done a marvellous job as Shekhar as well as G.ONE… “Superhero status achieved”
On a lighter note, for me, the best thing happened in the movie was SRK taking my name for at least 100 times… Pratik…Prateek… It was just great and I feel honored to have him call my name….Kinda blessed!
We can so easily criticize something which we have not made and so easily get influenced with what others say… I would rather plead all of you to think – honestly about the movie and respect the kinda art that they have put foreword, the kinda message that they want to say and the kinda actors who have acted brilliantly.
To summon up the movie my rating would be 4.5 on a scale of 5 with the room (of 0.5) better direction would have expected by Mr. Anubhav Sinha
The IMC plan was one of its kind and only King Khan can do such heroics. He has already been proved as a Super Marketer when we saw his team KKR in the inaugural IPL – was the only team to make profits even after being right below on Leaderboard. Not to forget, it did repeat his profit making in the rest of the IPLs too.
Very few people in the country would probably have the privilege to have a Brand Persona that he has in India as well as around the Globe. Not to forget the number of Filmfares he has got as compared to his fellow peers in the fraternity.
Being an MBA student it only makes me feel proud that my favorite actor – also happens to be the God of Marketing.
It’s just amazing how people can use a Location based website to their interests.