Does it seem familiar
“The camera needs to be more central than the text box in all of our apps.” (Mark Zuckerberg)
Wait, I feel like we’ve heard this before.
Tech on repeat
Ah, yes. Snap’s S-1 declared the company aimed to “create innovative and different camera products that are better able to reflect and improve our life experiences.” An original concept and mission that the company has certainly delivered upon.
At this week’s F8 conference, Facebook announced many ambitious goals for the next 5-10 years, but their newest products, although new to the company, are hardly groundbreaking.
Zuckerberg laid out his plan to create “the first mainstream augmented reality platform.”
He’s starting with layering digitally animated effects over pictures and video via the built-in smartphone cameras. This was referred to as “Step 1.” That implies that Facebook is not only stealing Snap’s headline feature of augmented reality via smartphone cameras; Facebook is stealing Snap’s entire vision.
Facebook tried unsuccessfully to acquire Snap years ago, and like a jealous little sister, has ever since been rather boldly copying Snap’s every move.
It started with Facebook-owned Instagram’s “Stories” — identical in just about every way to Snap’s feature of the exact same name. Since then, Facebook company has added Snapchat-style stories and special effects features to its Messenger app, WhatsApp, and even its primary network.
Facebook now seems to be gradually establishing a monopoly over social networks in general.
The company already adopted “Followers” from Twitter, “check-ins” from Foursquare, and live videos from Periscope, to name a few.
Directly replicating an existing idea is not innovation.
Facebook bought Oculus, and when VR didn’t catch on the way they’d hoped, they snatched up something that did — Snap essentially conducted in-depth market research, and after years of positive results, Facebook swooped in on a proven success. Zuckerberg vaguely acknowledged this, admitting: “We’re a little slow to add cameras to our apps.”
Sure, the cold hard truth is that it’s all business. Snap pioneered the augmented reality platform, but unlike Facebook, Snap does not have a platform for developers to contribute tools that the public can use, nor does it have Facebook’s 1.2 billion daily active users.
True to their vision, Snap keeps releasing new camera-centric features.
Their latest one projects augmented reality images into the real world using the smartphone’s rear-facing camera. However, when it comes to scale, Snap does not stand a fighting chance — Snapchat currently offers about 12 visual effects options a day, and Facebook intends to eventually offer thousands.
There is no doubt that Facebook has changed the nature of the world we live in, time and time again. However, such a blatant mimicry of Snap makes it seem as though Facebook might be running out of their own ideas and picking on the little guys.