Also as a side note, for a company like Facebook with apparently not outsiders (like suppliers etc) who have info on the plans of the company, how do these leaks happen? Employees?
I also find it odd that FB would spin out a separate app when all along they've been going for a unified experience in the iPhone app.
Facebook's behemoth social graph will easily steamroll over any new effort in this space. Color/Path/Instagram will need some insane differentiation in order to win this battle.
one of the big differences i can think of off the top of my head at 3am is that FB still isn't really about discovering new friends. You meet people in real life, then you friend them on Facebook. Not vice versa.
As far as I can tell, something that Color is expanding into is creating this "temporary" social network where you share photos with anybody within a certain location. It isn't as much about sharing photos with friends that you already have, as it is about discovering new people and the photos they're taking around you.
Based on widespread privacy concerns that Facebook has had to deal with, I'd say it's unlikely that this app involves social discovery. It's probably another friend, photo-sharing app, with the permissions of sharing mirroring what happens on the Facebook webapp.
Facebook is a collection of all your friends/family/people you kinda know and so fouth. We still need services that are specialized and cater to certain groups within your social circle and I can totally see Color/Path/Instagram/Whatever take and prosper from holding that position.
But then again Im not really a fan of Facebook and perhaps Im missing some core functionality that actually already exists within Facebook.
In that case, Facebook is very well positioned to execute faster and better in that space.
If you're building any kind of social app you'd be a fool not to think about the possibilities of the big players integrating your features into their platform, and what your long-term gameplan is going to be.
As computers get faster and software more sophisticated, we might see things like automatic manipulation of photos to change the branding on peoples clothing (in a fun, opt-out sort of way preferebly). Or detecting the brands that people wear then selling aggregation of that data to market researchers (bit easier and more likely).
Edit: I can see it in desktop upload - I must not have used that for a while.
I uploaded a big image as 'high resolution' (actually, you can't select high resolution because the photo is already being uploaded by the time this radio button becomes available for clicking) and facebook shrunk it down to a paltry 720x480. The UI blows it up to larger than this, so it looks more blurry.
The basic uploader has no 'high resolution' option, but didnt shrink the uploaded photo down as much.
I checked a 640x434 photo that I'd uploaded via API. As you said, they did recompress it, with a noticeable difference in quality. I had already set a reasonable web compression level. Their recompression reduced it only from 88KB to 84KB.