Facebook introduces shared photo albums

Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM ET

Facebook is introducing a new feature to its popular social network that will allow users to add photos to the same album.
Facebook is introducing a new feature to its popular social network that will allow users to add photos to the same album.

Ever have that annoying moment where you're posting photos from last night's party on Facebook only to be one-upped by your best friend who just happened to have a better angle on all the high jinx? Fear not, for Facebook is finally going to allow you to collaborate with your friends to create the definitive photo album of every social encounter.

Like the system for creating events and inviting other friends to be "administrators," the new shared albums feature will give users a new "add contributors" button on the upper left-hand corner of a photo album after they first create it.

The album's creator will be able to add up to 50 additional contributors, each with the ability to add an additional 200 photos to the album. Facebook will also introduce new privacy settings to let the album creator choose if they want to share it with contributors alone, friends of fellow contributors, or the general Facebooking public.

Facebook said that the feature is only available on the desktop version of the social network for the time being, and will be rolled out to English users to start with a wider launch follow the initial trial period. The company gave no comment about how any of these changes might influence its other popular photography application, Instagram.

Facebook's Paul Tarjan said in a public post on the social network that the idea for shared photo albums came out of one of the company's internal "hackathons," which is the origin story for many a tech product or new feature these days. 

Facebook engineers developed the new feature in order to resolve a common frustration of multiple users creating nearly identical photo albums of the same event — a problem that smaller developers have tried to resolve with varying levels of success (and failure) with apps like Flock, Albumatic, and the notoriously unpopular Color.

Facebook may be pre-empting the competition by stepping into the photo-sharing arena once again. But hey, when it comes to triggering the singularity, what better service to unite all of our photos into a single giant album recording the collective human experience than Facebook?

-via Mashable

Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.