Much like Mr. Siegler, I too was taken aback by the initial launch screen of the Facebook Camera app. Although not established at the system level à la Twitter, Facebook has evidently worked through some intelligent loopholes in order to achieve this astoundingly useful login screen.
Regarding this novelty, M.G. writes:
But how on Earth did the app know my name? I assumed, of course, it was related to the fact that I also had the main Facebook iOS app installed on my iPhone — but still, how did those two apps talk to one another as neither is system-level?
It’s a smart way to do it (though it may get a bit of backlash). And it will allow Facebook to continue to build separate apps for key features — perhaps an Events app next? — that are quick and easy to install and use. Now just imagine if this was baked into iOS itself so other apps could use it (just like the Twitter iOS integration, but actually even a little more seamless). It would save a lot of typing and/or a number of clicks for app switching (Single Sign On). In my mind, this “hack” shows why Facebook eventually needs to do their own mobile OS. Deep integration and seamless use are paramount in mobile.
The last sentence is an astute observation.
Upon opening Facebook Camera, the immediate greeting of your own name, and, indeed, the effortless login, is an utterly welcome and important characteristic to boast. Perhaps asking for login details is an expected inconvenience, but the psychological ramifications of foregoing such a step are positively extensive.
Regardless of your feelings towards Facebook, I highly recommend dabbling with Facebook Camera for a short while. Unlike the vast majority of Facebook’s mobile endeavors, the Facebook Camera app demonstrates a distinct feeling of polish that irrevocably alters and disguises the perception of Facebook as the bloated entity that it has become.
Subtleties such as this, whether cognitively noted or not, are of the utmost importance in design, and it’s certainly encouraging to see Facebook adhering to such a philosophy.