Talking tech since 2003

It’s been relatively easy (and fun!) for all us Android users to turn up our noses at the recent updates made to iOS7. “Oh, that looks like stuff that Android’s had for ages!” we scoff. Secretly we (okay, maybe just me) yearn for a big, exciting update to our mobile operating system of choice. Well, following up on last week’s leaks of photos alleged to show the newest version of Android—codenamed KitKat—today a post on Gigaom reports that the OS upgrade might give users some built-in photo editing options similar to those found in iOS 7. As they say, turnabout is fair play.

According to the post, KitKat—or Android 4.4, if you want to get technical about it—will include the ability to mess with photos you take with your smartphone’s cameras in ways similar to that of the popular photo editing app, Instagram. From what we can see in the images on the post, which come courtesy of Gadget Helpline, there are plenty of filtering options: Punch, Vintage, Black & White, Bleach, and some more we can’t see.

If these images are the real deal, I wouldn’t be surprised about Google’s attempts to bring popular features from other apps into its own native software. Frankly, that’s what Google’s been doing for years ever since it hit it big with search: email, cloud-based storage, cloud-applications like Docs and Spreadsheet, Google+…all of those initiatives are based on services provided by other companies. By glomming onto what users like and providing a low- or no-cost alternative that syncs with every other aspect of users’ accounts, Google keeps its customers within its ecosystem.

Adding features and functions made popular by Instagram only makes sense, and could help the company keep users from switching to different apps and social media services. The thinking behind these new filters probably goes something like this: If you can do all your hipster photo filtration within the Android OS and upload those photos to your Google+ account, why would you even bother with an Instagram account?

And let’s not forget that Instagram is owned by Facebook. As such, Google has even more of an incentive to try and direct users to its under-utilized social networking site. It’s possible that these new additions to Android could help accomplish that task.


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