Facebook’s new app shares photos privately outside of Facebook

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Facebook users share hundreds of millions of photos every day — more than 350 million, by the social network’s last count. But for every selfie, Instagram and vacation photo you share, chances are that dozens of photos never make it off your phone.

Facebook now has an app for those photos, called Moments.

The app syncs with the photos on your device — users can choose which images to sync with the service — and organizes them into album-like groups based on which friends are in the photos and where they were taken. Since the app uses the same facial recognition features as photos shared on the main Facebook app, Moments should be fairly adept at identifying the people you know in your photos.

Once your images are synced, you can choose which photos to share with your friends. Photos shared through Moments are private and not posted on Facebook, though the app allows you to share directly to your camera roll, Facebook, Instagram or other apps.

The thinking, says Will Ruben, Facebook’s product manager for Moments, is that any gathering of friends may result in dozens or even hundreds of photos. And though a few of these may be shared between the group or posted to Facebook, the vast majority often don’t make it off the devices they were taken on. But since Moments streamlines the sharing process (and isn’t public), people will be more likely to share many photos at once.

Importantly, images saved in Moments aren’t saved at full quality — Ruben said images are optimized for both speed and quality — so you won’t be able to get full resolution images from the app but it could still be a handy way to recover photos you would have otherwise lost.