Today, Facebook took a ballsy step toward owning more of your life. The newest update for the Facebook Android app has been released and it contains two extra apps: Messenger and Camera. Like the 1990s WB series Sister, Sister, your phone will soon have two nearly identical Camera apps and two messaging apps.
Camera and Camera: Facebook has now placed a Facebook Camera app right next to your default Android camera app. So you now have “Camera” and “Camera.” The icon only has a tiny blue ‘F’ in the corner, so it mostly looks like a generic camera app too. Even after you enter it, you may not realize you’re in a Facebook app. Until, that is, it takes a really slow and crappy picture. My Galaxy Nexus has one of the fastest shutter speeds around, but the generic Facebook Camera app doesn’t seem to realize that. Its auto focus and picture taking are much slower than the default app. Unlike an app like Instagram, the only value add here is that you can tag people quicker.
Messaging and Messenger: The new update also installs a new copy of Facebook’s Messenger app, which now has an icon that’s even closer to looking like the default Messaging app. Worse, if you had already installed the Facebook Messenger app separately (previously, Facebook didn’t shove it down your throat), you will now have two Messenger apps.
By the way: If you want to remove the Camera or Messenger apps, you’ll have to uninstall the entire Facebook app. Yep. You’re stuck with all three.
Some have argued that Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram (another camera app) was meant to buy the love of users. People love Instagram, but almost nobody loves Facebook. We all use it because we must (everyone is on it), but gutsy moves like these are why it lacks love. If someone wants to install a Facebook camera app, they can, but forcing three apps on users who only signed up to install one is not cool. Trying to trick them into using the Facebook Messaging and Camera alternatives through deceptive icon designs and names is just sad. Well, sad and a bit savvy. Facebook may not be very lovable, but it does know how to insert itself deeper into your life.
Another Facebook Phone: If you wanted one more indication of where Facebook is headed, DigiTimes has posted another rumor that HTC and Facebook are working together on another Facebook phone: a device that will integrate the social network much deeper into an Android phone, or possibly multiple HTC devices. Hopefully, this new phone will perform better than the Salsa and ChaCha.
(Thanks to Droid-Life for noticing the update.)