Facebook Camera: The Death of Innovation

Not sure who the brainchild of the Facebook Camera app is, but pretty sure they need to be taken out back and dealt with appropriately. Is this really the product of the acquisition of Instagram by Zuck and Company? If so, it fails the test for real innovation. There are plenty of other applications out there that will allow you to share photos on Facebook and there is no real "killer feature" to make me use Facebook's own iPhone app.

The interface is a bit of a rip off of the Instagram interface, with its long stream of published photos. Beyond that, it's a bit of a "balls to the wall" experience when you actually tap into a photo. Sure the smoked overlay of the photos caption with tagging, like and comment buttons at the bottom is nice, but when you tap to go back to the photo stream it puts me at the start of the stream again. If you want to view photos you have on your iPhone, and you're half way down in the stream of your friends photos, you have to scroll all the way back up just to swipe down on the screen to view your photos. Yes, you can tap the status bar at the top of the screen, but you still have then use another gesture (swiping down) to actually view your photos. Also, if you want to go back to the stream of friend's photos, you'll have to press a button in the bottom left corner of the screen. Really, Facebook? You put all these touch gestures into an app, just to force users to tap a button to go back to the main stream? That hardly seems intuitive at all.

To pull up the camera to actually take a photo is another affair altogether. From a locked iPhone, if I want to access the built-in camera application that Apple provides, I have two gestures to perform: clicking either the power button once (or the home button, and swiping up. Bang! I now have a ready-to-go application to snap all the photos I want. To access the Facebook Camera app, I have to do the following:

  1. Click the power button once (or home button).
  2. Swipe to unlock my iPhone
  3. Enter my passcode (4 key presses)
  4. Swipe to the right once to change the page
  5. Click the icon to launch the application
  6. After the main stream launches, I have to then swipe down to reveal the camera icon.
  7. I then have to tap the camera icon to launch the phone.

All that equals 11 gestures to make the app useable to the point I can take photos, which essentially is the point of the application.

Now let's assume you don't have a passcode on your phone like I do, and you have the app on your main page of icons, and the last position of the app was already on the camera within the application. That's still leaves 4 gestures, which is more than the stock camera app requires me to utilize to take a photo. Of course, I'm not counting the extra step it takes to click the shutter button, which - by the way - you can't use the volume up (+) button to activate the shutter. Again, I ask, this is innovation?

I can't click to delete this app fast enough. If this is the state if "innovation" at Facebook, it's no wonder it's IPO price was as limp as a week-old ramen soup noodle. Investors see Facebook for what it really is, a novelty and a cuteness with little to no actual growth potential as an investment.