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(Pocket-lint) - Facebook has launched another companion iPhone app today that focuses on picture-taking and sharing: Facebook Camera. It's free and downloadable now from iTunes.

However, while this has prompted many to believe that the new app is directly linked to the company's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, announced in April, it is more likely that the new application was built as a direct rival to the hugely popular photo filter and sharing software.

For starters, the Instagram deal won't be completed until both companies receive approval by the Federal Trade Commission in the US and, as evidenced by the Google/Motorola buyout, that could take many months, if not a year. Until then, Instagram remains a separate entity.

Second, the average development time for a feature-rich application such as Facebook Camera would almost certainly suggest that the social network would have started the project before the Instagram acquisition was a reality.

That's not to say that Facebook Camera won't borrow key elements and technologies or merge with Instagram when the buyout is completed, just that, for now, the new application is a different thing entirely.

If anything, it's a bigger rival to social network Path, as Pocket-lint has illustrated elsewhere on the site.

What do you think of Facebook Camera? Let us know in the comments below...

Writing by Rik Henderson.