UPDATE 2: Huffington Post has edited their original article. They now state that the Instagram app deal will close later this year, not the whole app.
In case you were as baffled when you heard that Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 Billion, you weren't alone. But news today shows the reason. Facebook has announced their next product: Facebook Camera.
UPDATE 1: Facebook has said that Instagram employees did not work on the new Facebook Camera app as the acquisition is still in process. They also announced that it expects the Instagram app to close sometime this year. Wait, what? The purchase of Instagram looks more and more like just an action to remove a competitor. But because there are so many apps out there, if that really is the reason the purchase can look sort of unnecessary and, well, silly. Unless HuffPost made a major boo boo with their reporting... [Via Huffington Post]
UPDATE 2: HuffPost made a boo boo (as we were beginning to suspect thanks to our Facebook fans), but have corrected it. They originally stated that the app was to close this year, but have now edited their article to state that the deal will close, not the app. Whew. Breathe your sigh of relief Instagram faithful. [Via Huffington Post]
From the Facebook News Page:
"Today, we're introducing Camera, a new mobile app that makes using Facebook photos faster and easier.
See friends’ photos all in one place
When you launch the app, you'll see a feed of just great photos from the people you care about. You can swipe to see more of any album or tap to enlarge an individual photo.
Share multiple photos fast
Now you can quickly share multiple photos all at once instead of having to post one at a time. Just select the shots you want to share by tapping the check-mark on each photo and then hit post. You'll have a chance to add a caption, say where you were and tag friends before you share.
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."
Personally, I'm a bit confused as to why Facebook bought Instagram only to unveil a product that is wholly separate and directly competes with the product. Perhaps there is more going on here than immediately apparent, but for me I'm still in the dark. (UPDATED: Well. A little less confused now.)
You can watch a video of the app in action by clicking here.
The app is free, and available now at the Apple App Store.