Snapseed, Google Plus’s newest acquisition has been widely touted as Google’s Instagram. But that’s not be a particularly apt comparison.
Though it’s a great app (I downloaded it and took a bunch of pictures of my daughter in her Snow White Halloween Costume), it’s not as comparable to Instagram as some people have written. Let me share why:
What is this Snapseed you speak of?
Snapseed is an award-winning photo filtering app that has both mobile and desktop version, and presumably will be integrated into Google Plus (so much for Google not spending any money on G Plus acquisitions for the rest of the year). The details of the acquisition weren’t announced, but odds are it didn’t approach the neighborhood of Facebook’s Instagram acquisition (for good reason).
What makes Instagram special?
When Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion dollars (the majority paid in stock for all of you that may be bullish about Facebook stock after its recent upturn), many people thought that it was overpriced. Facebook clearly liked it as is: they’re keeping the autonomy of the site, they’re increasing the platforms that it is available on, and they’re keeping the user experience as is.
Instagram came with audience and a proven product. It’s not hard to understand why they were such an attractive target for Facebook and others. Snapseed was acquired touting that they have nine million users – of course this means that they have nine million purchases, a much different measurement than nine million people have bought the product and continue to be engaged within it.
What makes Instagram special? Because its value is a social network built around an app. Snapseed is an app that is going to be incorporated into a social network.
Does highest-quality translate to most-popular?
Instagram is a best-in-class site. It is the most popular of all photo-filtering sites, but qualitatively it is not the best. Its features are actually pretty limited compared to some, you can’t make fine adjustments on any filters, they are what they are. Other apps like Snapseed are qualitatively better but will never achieve Instagram’s popularity. Why? Because Instagram has a low barrier to entry, is easy to use, promotes socialization, and has tremendous reach due to the great strategy implemented by its founders and now by Facebook.
An analogy I thought of was movies. Consider the highest grossing movies in the last few years versus the highest rated:
The highest quality movies in the past few years have earned between .04% and .1% of the most popular movies. Whether a particular photo app is qualitatively better than Instagram is insignificant, because Instagram is the Harry Potter of photo-filtering apps with a massive built-in audience.
The rest are the interrupters: Phenomenal, award-winning, and destined for underappreciation.