Meet Facetagram 1.0

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week for Mr. Zuckerberg. The question is, is this most recent announcement an up or a down?

On Thursday afternoon the team announced the debut of the Facebook Camera app – a standalone app that, well, looks a heck of a lot like Instagram.

Some are wondering why the network would pump out a near carbon copy of the app they just shelled out $1 billion for. But then again, maybe it’s a step in the right direction; after all, visual and mobile elements are the future of social networking.

Facebook users spend a lot of time uploading and perusing pictures, so the Photo team focused on making that experience better. Thus, photos are the very center of the Facebook Camera experience. Browsing is a faster, smoother experience, or, according to one Facebook spokesman, “like butter.”

Facetagram facebook camera app, facebook, instagram

The photos are also higher quality (upload images up to 2,048 by 2,048 pixels), and the layout features larger, full-bleed photos much like the most recent standard Facebook app update.

And in true Instagram fashion, the Camera features 15 photo filters, as well as a few basic photo editing tools.

Facebook sources say that the app had been in development for months, and the Instagram team had nothing to do with the build. . . so why the buyout? Instagram quickly established itself as a cornerstone of the visual-mobile kingpin, and instead of patiently awaiting its own product release, Facebook went on the offense.

Think of it like this: while Instagram has 40 million users, Facebook has 900 million – and this app is for those people who love photos, but have yet to jump on the Instagram train.

My only remaining question is this: why the standalone app? Will Facebook continue to build a dynasty of separate mobile tools, or will these functionalities eventually be integrated into the standard application?