Shared FB Photo Albums Now In With the In Crowd
As many as 50 Facebook friends can now work together on a shared photo album. That may be good news for users, but for the makers of Keepsy, Hipstamatic and other like-minded services? Not so much. "It now seems unwise to base an entire business on a Facebook app," said author Brian Carter. "If you're successful, there's even greater danger of Facebook suddenly making your innovation unnecessary."
Facebook on Monday began rolling out a new feature that allows multiple users to upload images to the same online photo album, according to a Mashable report.
Whereas previously users could upload photos only to albums they had created themselves -- with a maximum of 1,000 photos per album -- the new feature allows up to 50 people to contribute to the same album on the social network.
Each individual user can upload 200 photos, bringing the maximum total to 10,000 images in a single shared album. Each individual contributor can also tag, edit and give captions to the photos they add. Creators of the albums can determine who gets to see the photos, whether it's just contributors, friends of contributors or the public at large.
The new feature was reportedly built during one of Facebook's companywide hackathon sessions, so some of the features are still being adjusted.
Facebook did not respond to our request to comment for this story.
'An Even Deeper Socialization'
The ability to share images collectively could be particularly attractive following parties and events.
"Shared albums are a great feature," Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Resarch, told TechNewsWorld. "Kids, families and friends get together and all want to remember their moments together."
Indeed, "it's smart because it's an even deeper socialization of photos," concurred Brian Carter, author of Facebook Marketing and LinkedIn for Business.
Tags are already a powerful way for friends to become aware of new photos, Carter pointed out. Now, "with photo album sharing, the interaction and visibility to friends and friends of friends will explode exponentially," Carter told TechNewsWorld.
"We'll see photo albums that aren't just about events or trips, but on themes like 'the 99 percent' or 'memes we love,' he predicted. "It makes me wonder if they'll add this option to Facebook Pages as well."
The Danger of Success
Of course, startups including Keepsy, Hipstamatic and Alumatic have already been offering apps and services that do much the same thing. Facebook's addition of that functionality to its base service effectively makes those third-party offerings redundant -- and puts their creators on potentially shaky ground.
"When Facebook launches a new social feature such as shared albums, it's going to change the course for an ecosystem of startups and independent developers," Netpop Research's Crandall noted. "We're now seeing second-generation social sites that add features and grab the momentum of startups trying to launch a company around a simple experience."
Some Facebook apps "are in trouble because of this," Carter said. "The larger trend is Facebook stealing crowdsourced app ideas to make them part of the core functionality.
"It now seems risky and unwise to base an entire business on a Facebook app," he concluded. "If you're successful, there's even greater danger of Facebook suddenly making your innovation unnecessary."