Say goodbye to Facebook's Poke and Camera

Steven Loeb · May 10, 2014 · Short URL:

Facebook cleans house as it gets ready to deliver users a suite of stand alone apps

Facebook is on a quest to create a series of stand alone mobile apps, and that also means cleaning house. Now two of its previous efforts are now being killed off.

The company has removed two of the apps it created in the past couple of years: Poke and Camera are no longer available to download in the App Store, Facebook has confirmed to VatorNews.

"Since their launch in 2012, we've incorporated elements of each app into the Facebook for iOS and Android apps, including the photo upload flow used today," a company spokesperson told me. "Neither app has been updated in some time and we've decided to officially end support by removing them from the app store. "

Neither of the apps had been released on Android.

I can't say that I am too surprised by either of these apps not making the cut, though. Both were copies of other, better apps that were already out there, and not indicative of Facebook at its most innovative.

Poke debuted in December of 2012, and was right seen for exactly what it was: simply an attempt on Facebook's part to compete with the then new phenomenon known as Snapchat.

The Poke app allowed users to send each other messages, photos, or videos that had a set time limit before they expired. Each message was deleted after a specific time that the user set, either 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds.

The app was never really taken seriously, and Facebook seemed to quickly forget about it as well.

How big of a failure was Poke? Facebook had so little faith in the app that it tried, on multiple occasions, to buy Snapchat, even offering the service $3 billion. Snapchat, of course, turned down the offer. 

Meanwhile, Facebook debuted its stand-alone Camera app for iOS, with 14 different filters such as cool, light, and copper, in May of 2012. The app also let users tag friends and locations, add a description, and post quickly within the app. 

While the app actually met with a nice reception, its timing was pretty odd, given that it was released the month after Facebook spent $1 billion to buy Instagram. Why debut two photo-sharing apps, each with the same features, in such a short time frame? Who knows, but, as Instagram took off like a rocket, it basically doomed Camera to also-ran status.

Facebook's apps suite

Following the release of the company's earnings reports in January, Mark Zuckerberg got on a conference call and said that Facebook would be continuing its push on mobile in the upcoming year with more standalone apps, a la Instagram.

The next day the company released the first of those apps: a stand-alone reader called Paper. 

The vision was then reinforced by three moves made by the company since then: first, it's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp in February, followed by its decision to force Facebook users to download a separate app in order to use its instant messenger service via mobile. 

Most recently the company purchased fitness tracking app Moves, which is staying as a stand-alone app.

The removal of the two apps was first reported by The Verge on Friday.

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