Facebook bought Instagram for $1B this week. For a company that was barely 500 days old and had only 13 employees, that's a lot of money.
Instagram had something Facebook needed - a mobile strategy. Facebook had something Instagram needed - a monetization scheme.
The general consensus is Facebook bought Instagram to get a hold of the user generated data that accompanies our pictures. Many photos are geotagged with the exact time and place they were taken. Facebook has struggled with its Places function to get people to "check in". Now, with something like Instagram in the fold, Facebook will know exactly where and when you were. Why? To better service you ads, of course.
People love Instagram for two reasons: photos are easy to share, photos are easy to make beautiful. You can create and follow a social network on Instagram to browse photos, but you can also add all sorts of filters and frames to your images to make the otherwise low light, blurry image something more artsy.
So now that Instagram is in Facebook, if you don't want Facebook to know the where and when you are, but still want to easily share images that look great, here are 3 alternatives you can use:
This app emulates an old school camera. You dont see a full screen when you're taking a picture. You have to load film, and choose lenses and flashes. Unlike Instagram, you dont get to do much editing after the fact, the picutre you take is the picture you get - the app even takes some time to "develop" your image, so it's not an instant gratifier. The images it produces are artsy, much like the Instagram shots, but each "pack" is an in-app purchase for 99c. There's also a print option, where you can order your images to be printed, right from the back of the phone.
This app has become my camera. Taking a picture is simple, and the post photo editing has many options. From dozens of filters, to cropping, and editing - this lets met quickly and easily do everything I want with my photos. It also has easy sharing to your favorite social networks.
Camera Awesome [free]
This recently released app from SmugMug falls along the lines of a camera bag replacement. You can access 36 filters for free, and in-app purchases can expand your editing capabilities. The app also features an "awesomize" button which promises to do all the heavy lifting for you and process a perfect image if you dont want to edit on your own. A 'time machine' is included in this app that brags it records video for 5 seconds before you press the button. Full export to social networks is supported.
This is probably closest to the model of Instagram. It's built around social sharing of photos. You're prompted to create an album and sort your images before you even take one. Once you take a photo you can choose a variety of filters (like on Instagram) and then your images and albums are viewable by the public, or your contacts, depending how you adjust your privacy. There's also easy sharing to Twitter and Facebook.
As a bonus, if the artistic filters of these photo apps is what attracts you to them, try 8mm for the video buttons on your iPhone, iPod and iPad.
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