We thought we had seen it all when Google announced its revamped Photos application that not only offers to keep all your fond memories in the same place but also use Google’s extensive algorithms to dig for more details, mash up the images for major throwback videos of your good old days in college or holidaying somewhere and even recognize your ex-girlfriend from ten years ago and tag the photos appropriately. Today, Facebook is doing pretty much the same (and more) with a new application, Moments.
While it will dig through the impressive photo collection on your mobile device and organize it so that it is easily searchable, Moments will also scour through those snaps and use Facebook’s pretty accurate facial recognition technology to group them based on who is them i.e. your friends. The biggest feature of Moments, at least according to us, is that if you choose in the settings to share photos with specific friends and they choose to do the same with you then you all have all the photos you took together. Know that scenario when you and your classmates, workmates, friends or members of your church youth group have gone camping and you all take the same photos but each with their own device? Facebook’s algorithms will detect that and share them amongst you. All this is done privately, of course.
At this moment (see what I did there?), it is easy to see Facebook’s strategy. Photo sharing is one of the biggest use cases of Facebook and it is what brings many users together. Over 2 billion photos are being shared on Facebook on a daily basis with 350 million being new uploads and with Facebook’s 1.4 billion strong user base, there are no signs of slowing down. It is on Facebook where we get to see our friend’s glamourous graduation photos, engagement photos, their wedding photos and subsequently imags of their first born child. It is the threat to Facebook’s photo service that saw its parent company acquire Instagram in order to retain its hold of the new generation photo sharing. Moments can be taken to be the social media giant’s efforts to ward off competition from the likes of Google Photos by making its photos app even smarter.
Will Moments mean that Facebook’s photo service is dead? Not really. Moments makes the photos app smarter since it builds on what it already has as in facial recognition. It also makes sure your photos are only shared with your chosen friends alone and not everyone else. Facebook has previously done the same to its core features like Groups and chat (Messenger) in order to give them more focus and prioritize the experience over the noise of the home feed, which it is working on making more relevant to you by learning what you spend your time looking at most.