Facebook Camera for iPhone streamlines photo browsing, sharing

Warm weather brings a flood of vacation photos from Facebook friends. Now, Facebook has launched an app for the iPhone to make looking through your friends' latest snapshots and sharing your own more simplified.

Starting today, iPhone users can visit the App Store to download Facebook Camera, a free app that puts all photos posted by friends in one place.

According to the Facebook blog post, the app opens to a feed of photos posted by your friends, which you can navigate by swiping to see more pictures, or tapping to enlarge a photo.

The app also lets iPhone users post multiple photos at once, instead of forcing them to do so one at a time. The photos can be tagged and captioned before they're shared online, too. Facebook Camera also offers 14 filters users can use to customize their photos.

There are certain elements of the app that are similar to Instagram, which Facebook is still in the process of acquiring. A spokeswoman for the company says that Facebook is seeking to grow Instagram independently, so some "healthy competition" is expected, TechCrunch reports. Facebook Camera has been in development for as long as a year, predating the company's purchase of Instagram.

In April, two shortcuts gave Android users access to similar photo sharing functionalities as Facebook Camera offers, but those have since been removed with the subsequent Android update, The Los Angeles Times reports. Facebook Camera is the first full app that Facebook has offered to directly connect users to their friends' photos, and will be made available for Android at a later time.

Early impressions of the app are mixed. Montreal Gazette blogger Jason Magder says there are certain limitations to Facebook Camera, like only being able to post photos to your own wall and not the walls of friends or on fan pages. The Verge also says that there's no way to save the photos that others have posted. However TechCrunch argues that Facebook Camera outshines Instagram with its ability to upload multiple photos at a time.

To help you judge for yourself, check out this promo video released by Facebook showcasing the new app:

(Image from Facebook)