agency:2 - the rise of photo sharing and the battle between google, instagram & facebook

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This agency:2 article discusses the Rise of Photo Sharing and the battle between Google, Instagram & Facebook.

The growth in popularity of photo sharing services - which allow users to take, share and comment on photos in real time - has been extraordinary. The rise in the use of smartphones has led to a rise in demand for photo sharing online and, thanks to platforms such as Instagram, it is emerging as a new form of social networking in its own right.

The launch of Google’s Photovine iPhone app is a clear indication that the big players, including Facebook, are not going to allow Instagram to triumph easily.

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agency:2 - the rise of photo sharing and the battle between google, instagram & facebook

  1. 1. The Rise of Photo Sharing and the Battle Between Google, Instagram &FacebookThe growth in popularity of photo sharing services - which allow users to take, share and commenton photos in real time- has been extraordinary. The rise in the use of smartphones has led to a rise indemand for photo sharing online and, thanks to platforms such as Instagram, it is emerging as a newform of social networking in its own right.Instagram’s success has highlighted the opportunities photo sharing offers to Facebook and Google –and 2011 has seen many announcements and rumours about the launch of their own photo sharingapplications. It has led Google to make their move in the photo sharing sphere, with the publiclaunch of the Photovine app. They claim it is a ‘fun way to learn more about your friends, meet newpeople, and share your world like never before.’Following news that Instagram has surpassed 150 million photos shared, it demonstrates theimmense popularity of photo sharing services. It is an area of huge growth and a lot of investment.The rise of InstagramInstagram is the photo sharing platform market leader with over 7 million users (this is a remarkablefeat considering that the app is still only available on the iPhone) and the service has managed totake on the big social media players such as Facebook and Google and is, at the moment, winning,with brands such as Burberry and Levi’s leveraging the platform to engage with their audience.How can the Instagram phenomenon be explained? The main reason is that it is not just a photosharing platform, but a tool which can make your photos look stunning with little effort (of the 150million photos that have been shared, 80% have had filters applied to them).Its simple and easy to use interface makes it an attractive proposition to users. However, what alsomakes Instagram such an appealing platform is that it is also extremely social. People can followother users and comment on their photos, meaning you can build an entire network of friendsSeptember 2011 www.agency2.co.uk 0207 775 5608
  2. 2. around your Instagram photos. The app has also managed to add seamless social integration to siteslike Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.Photovine: telling stories through picturesThe launch of Google’s Photovine iPhone app is a clear indication that the big players are not goingto allow Instagram to triumph that easily. But how can Photovine differentiate itself from Instagramand the plethora of other photo sharing platforms available?The idea behind Photovine is to use photos to tell stories through ‘vines’. These ‘vines’ are acollection of pictures around a caption. For example, if it’s a hot day you can start a ‘vine’ called‘Parks and Sunshine’ and publish a picture. People following you can view this and also ‘join the vine’by posting their own pictures based around this idea. The idea of grouping photos in this way andencouraging people to add to a collection is a great way to drive engagement.Photovine seems to have everything in place to be a huge success. The concept is original and itfeatures everything you would expect from a social network, so, just like with Facebook and Twitteryou can find friends and easily share photos with them. You can also set up a profile, chat withfollowers and add captions to your pictures. The fantastic look and feel of the app – something thatGoogle is not generally very good at – also means Photovine can compete with Instagram.Facebook to enter the marketYet there is another massive player who will have a big say in the future of photo sharing. Photosharing and tagging is one of the main factors that allowed Facebook to grow so quickly andTechcrunch recently leaked photos of Facebook’s new photo sharing app that is set to be released –though no date has yet been set. The app seems to draw heavily from Instagram and its ‘filters’concept. It’s a sign that Facebook are determined to quickly own the market. It makes perfect sense– with 750 million users already in place they can take their pick from features they like in otherapplications (such as Instagram) and replicate them in their app.Who will triumph?With its huge growth, and a new app for Android and a website on the way, Instagram is starting tolook like a real threat to the social graph. Their success has clearly made Facebook and Google takenotice and also made them aware of the great potential in photo sharing platforms – the challengefor these giants now is how they will compete with Instagram and dominate the market by gettingan audience who are engaged with the Instagram brand to shift their allegiance.September 2011 www.agency2.co.uk 0207 775 5608

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