Last summer, Facebook was rumored to be eyeing Instagram. Obviously the acquisition speculation was merely that, and Instagram has gone on to quick and unparalleled photo-sharing success. And for its part, Facebook has been rumored to be developing a built-in filter application of its own.
Unfortunately, nothing has surfaced since. We’ve said for some time now that given its popularity as an image hosting platform, Facebook should integrate some sort of photo edits or effects feature. For starters it appears that its users clearly want it: the News Feed is constantly pulling in photos pushed from the Instagram app or PicPlz. Secondly, the photo-filter craze has hit full swing and the social network would be stupid not to jump on board.
Sure, Facebook’s primary focus is not to center itself with photos—it’s an all-encompassing site. But photos have clearly become top content on the site, and users want more.
We’ve nearly given up hope that Facebook will introduce this type of tool in the near future. If that spring IPO is on the horizon, then the company is about to enter its quiet period before filing and that means no big announcements. In fact, the debut of its Open Graph apps hitting the site was speculated to be its last major event. Post-IPO, Facebook obviously can still update the site with new features, but filters probably wouldn’t be a priority.
So if you can’t wait and don’t want to push outside app photos to Facebook (or want to edit old images or don’t have a smartphone… the list goes on) there are a couple of options at your disposal.
Aviary offers free Web editing software that’s reminiscent of Gimp or the now-defunct Picnik. After installing the app, you can choose any of your already-uploaded photos or choose a new one from your computer. It will only display a handful at a time, so you may have to hit the “show more” icon obnoxiously often.
Pixlr-o-matic is very possibly our favorite platform-free photo filter app. For the images you want to manipulate but don’t want to post to a community, this is a great option—made better yet by a Facebook app. Like Aviary, you can grab photos from your computer or from Facebook. Be forewarned: it will only pull up about 36 photos from each album, so you will be somewhat limited in these choices.
Phixr doesn’t have the intuitive, nicely-designed UI the other two options do, but it certainly gets the job done. You have a variety of edits (add text, add icons, flip, adjust color and saturation… it goes on) and it also has color filters and lens filters. And it has a lot of them. What’s nice about Phixr is that it shows your original image and what it will look like with the filter side-by-side for comparison’s sake.
You are bounced out of Facebook (although this is done pretty smoothly). The benefit is that instead of auto creating a new “Phixr” album, you can choose where the editing image will go, as it shows a drop-down of all your albums. From Phixr, you can add a caption and tag anyone you want.