PillowMob is a new service that transforms photos of heads into puffy pillow heads. In addition to human faces, you can also use the face of your beloved pet. They cost $25 each with free shipping — it’s currently available to US residents only, but the company may begin shipping internationally soon.
Gadget painting company ColorWare is now offering its services for the Leica D-Lux 5, allowing you to choose custom colors for everything from the body to the hot shoe insert. If you’ve always wanted to make your D-Lux as painful on the eyes as some of Pentax’s limited edition cameras, now’s your chance. You can buy a custom painted $800 D-Lux directly from ColorWare for $1200, or send in your camera for a $400 paint job. It’s super pricey, but if you’re shooting with a Leica and even thinking about a custom paint job, then price probably isn’t one of your concerns.
FastCompany paid a visit to the Instagram offices in San Francisco recently to chat with founder Kevin Systrom:
CEO Kevin Systrom and the Instagram team are exactly what you picture when thinking of scrappy startup entrepreneurs: four guys in a room. Literally, there are only four people at Instagram. And they’re working in a corner of a shared tech office in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood.
Some interesting facts mentioned in the interview: the service is growing at a rate of 1.3-1.4 million users per month, they’re planning an Android version, they haven’t spent a dime on marketing, and the current app is only the “tip of the iceberg” in their plans to change how we take and share photos.
Millions of people know Instagram as a fun way to share photographs, but get popular enough on the service and it can be a profitable one as well. Keepsy, a startup that helps people quickly create albums from Instagram and Facebook photos, has launched a new curated gallery featuring top Instagram artists. Fans can purchase photobooks from the site at a price set by the artist, and profits are split 50/50 between the service and the photographer. While only about 20 users are represented currently, they’re planning to slowly add more based on merit.
The gallery is also a good place to find people to follow for fresh inspiration.
Mashable is reporting that Google will be rebranding Picasa as “Google Photos” within the next six weeks, coinciding with the public launch of its Google+ social networking service. Blogger will also be rebranded as “Google Blogs”. Furthermore, images up to 2048x2048px won’t be counted towards the 1GB of free storage offered by the service for Google+ users, up from the 800px rule announced earlier this year. Larger images uploaded after the storage limit is reached will be automatically resized to 2048px, meaning Google is offering virtually unlimited storage for sharing photos online.
As Google continues to improve the photo sharing experience it offers, Flickr’s going to have to innovate quickly to prevent a mass exodus of photographers looking for greener pastures.
Facebook can’t be too pleased with Google right now. In addition to releasing a Facebook competitor called Google+, the company has also beaten Facebook to the mobile photo sharing space with a new app called Pool Party. Like Google+, the app is currently invite-only, but if you can score an invite it’s a free download for both iOS and Android. The app is based around collaborative group albums called “pools” that allow you to share pictures with friends and family in real-time. Read more…
One of the gripes some people have with Flickr is that it doesn’t offer an easy way to download your complete collection of photos if you ever want to move your images elsewhere (though, hopefully you’re not using it as your only backup). Furthermore, if your Pro account ever expires, you can’t even access more than 200 of your old images without resubscribing. Google’s Picasa users won’t ever have this problem with the launch of a new service called Google Takeout, which allows you to download all your photos (and any other data you have stored with Google) as a single ZIP file. Read more…
OpenPhoto is a new “open” alternative to Flickr being built by programmer Jaisen Mathai — an engineer who quit his job at Yahoo (Flickr’s owner) back in May 2011. Instead of storing images using company servers, this new service will allow users to connect their own online storage accounts to store their data within arms reach. This would be like using Flickr to share your images while having the photos themselves be stored in a location that you control (e.g. Amazon S3, Dropbox, etc…).
Mathai is planning to have an open source version of the software that anyone can install on their own servers, and also a hosted version of the software, much like WordPress.org and WordPress.com for blogging. He’s currently raising money for the project through Kickstarter, and plans to launch the hosted version of the service by September.
Last week we featured Shopobot, a new website that can show you the price history of camera gear and tell you whether it’s stable or not. Decide is a new service (just launched yesterday) that goes a step further — it not only tells you whether to buy or not based on price stability, but checks to see whether there’s a newer model available or likely to be announced in the near future. The service bases each decision on 40 price factors, historical trends, and relevant rumors regarding upcoming announcements. With a new camera being announced every 45 hours on average, Decide might just help you avoid the pain of buyers remorse.
One of the big complaints users (or ex-users) have against Flickr is that its account deletion process is often unexpected and almost always permanent. Many users — even paid subscribers — have found their accounts deleted and have had no way of appealing and no chance of recovering their data. Flickr finally addressed the issue today by changing its deletion policy — data is now stored for 90 days on the server after accounts are deleted, giving users a chance to appeal. Huzzah!