The photo-sharing startup scene is getting hot, with social apps on mobile devices receiving quite a bit of money and attention lately. Instagram has hundreds of thousands of users now after just a month, and competitor PicPlz just raised a cool $5 million from the same VC firm that invested in Instagram.
Another app that’s receiving attention is PhotoRocket, which raised $1.3 shortly after going into private alpha last week. It simplifies photo sharing for the non-technically savvy by allowing people to broadcast photos to people and social networking services by right clicking photos on their computer and selecting to share. The short 30 second demo above gives you a glimpse into how the service works.
DropMocks is a new photo sharing service designed to help you share photographs online as quickly and easily as possible. Created with HTML 5, the service has a minimalistic homepage that invites you to drag and drop photos into the browser. It then adds those photos into a simple gallery, and provides you with a short URL you can share. It’s a bit like file hosting service DropBox, except for photos and done through the browser.
You don’t need an account, though you can create one to keep track of the “mocks” you create. Here’s an example mock we created using some photos from PetaPixel’s Flickr account. Keep in mind that since the galleries are publicly accessible through private URLs, don’t upload anything you wouldn’t want to be made public.
We wrote about Snapsort at the beginning of this year, when it was still a newly-launched, bare-bones website for comparing digital cameras. Though it was spartan, the service was useful for comparing the specs of cameras and seeing how they stack up against each other.
The service has gotten even more useful in the past few days, with a massively updated website taking the place of the first version. In addition to the sweet new design, the service now offers much more than simple comparisons. New features include detailed camera pages, customized advice (i.e. by budget), and a learning section filled with bookmarkable material. You can even compare cameras that haven’t hit the market yet.
If you’re currently in the market for a digital camera, you’ll definitely want to give this page a peek.
Companies that help you print and make things with your photographs are a dime a dozen, but Photozini‘s super easy magazine creation process caught our eye.
Their goal seems to be to take all the work out of turning your photographs into a nice magazine, and allow even those who are utterly computer-challenged to do so. Here’s a diagram found on the website showing how the service works:
After purchasing the Photozini kit for $40, they send you a Photozini USB card on which you can put up to 150 photographs. You then mail it in using their prepaid return envelope, and receive a photo magazine in about 3 weeks.
So much of the work is done for you that you don’t have a say on how the resulting magazine will look, but this could be a great way to quickly turn your vacation or event photographs into a nice magazine without spending hours on designing the pages yourself.
Group Story is a new photo service that’s centered around building photo books collaboratively with other people who photographed the same event. For example, the parents of a soccer team could pool photographs together and create a photo book documenting the soccer season.
Everything is done through a simple web interface, and after photographs are uploaded, you can use any of the photographs in the group to create a page. Once pages are created, you can use any of the pages in the group to create a physical photo book.
The resulting 8×8 inch books cost $13 for 20 pages in a softcover format, and $25 for hardcover. Additional pages are 50 cents each. There isn’t currently any feature for sharing the resulting books through the web, but providing an embeddable photo book that users can post online and/or link to might be a good future feature.
Kristofer Minkstein from Embed Article recently contacted us asking whether we’d like to be a launch partner for a new service they’re planning to launch in a month called Embed Image. Unauthorized image use isn’t a big problem for us, so I don’t think we’ll be using the service, but the idea was interesting enough that I thought I’d share it with all of you.
So why would you want to do this? The idea is that giving people an authorized way of embedded an image may prevent unauthorized use. The embedded image automatically links back to the original, and even contains ad space you can use to monetize your photos with. Furthermore, the service will have reporting that shows you where and how your images are being used.
What do you think of this idea? Do you think embeddable images will become popular with photographers and photobloggers?
Mopho is a new photo sharing service with a strange name — until you realize it’s a domain hack using Tonga’s ccTLD, making it mopho.to.
The idea is similar to more established location based services such as Foursquare or Gowalla, but rather than sharing your locations via check-ins and then adding photos, you share a geotagged photograph through the iPhone application. You can download the free application here.
Once you capture a photo, geotag its location, and publish it through the app, your friends will be notified through their apps, the Mopho website, or Facebook.
The photo and location service spaces are both extremely crowded with 800-pound gorillas in each. I don’t think Mopho offers enough to rise above its competition, but it might succeed in developing a small, enthusiastic community of users like all the other services in the long tail of these spaces.
Y Combinator-funded photo startup Picwing started out in 2008 as a typical photo-sharing service that also beamed your photos to a fancy, $249 digital picture frame that you could use to easily share photos (i.e. baby pictures with your parents). Turns out people weren’t willing to drop that much cash on a digital frame when similar products were bigger, cheaper, and similar in functionality.
Picwing then decided to focus on printing photographs, and realized that many people would like to share more physical prints than they actually do. For example, people might want to share photos of their young children with relatives, but don’t have the time to have photos printed and mailed.
Using the Picwing app for iPhone application or Android, you can send full-res photos directly to the service from your phone. Picwing then automatically prints and mails the photos to up to 6 recipients for a subscription fee starting at around $5 a month for each recipient. Photos can also be added to accounts from your computer or through email, and you can choose to have 15 photos mailed up to twice a month (for a slightly higher fee).
We like the business model, and think there’s definitely a need that Picwing meets. Is this a service you would use?
NachoFoto is a new image search engine that attempts to deliver relevant results for a specific kind of query traditional search engines haven’t focused on: dynamic keywords.
These are keywords for which the resulting photographs should change over time.
For example, if someone searched for “tiger woods” this past week, they were likely looking for photographs of him at the Masters. However, traditional search engines such as Google returned exactly the same images as they did the week before. A quick Google search for “Tiger Woods” shows many images of him, but nothing specifically from this week. A NachoFoto search of the same term returns photographs ordered by freshness.
Another example would be the searches for “earthquake”. Those who search for the term “earthquake” prior to a major disaster would have greatly different expectations than those who searched for the term immediately after. As of now, Google does not offer any way to sort or filter by time in their image search.
Traditional services like Google built their reputation upon relevancy, but newer services such as Twitter have demonstrated that the ability to surface “trending” topics is important to users as well.
This new service is an interesting look at a feature image search engines should have, but unless someone acquires NachoFoto, it probably won’t stand a chance if the feature is added to existing search engines.
Late last week we reported that Facebook had acquired the young photo sharing startup, Divvyshot, and will be shutting the service down.
Troovi is a service that’s similar in functionality — one that focuses more on exchanging photographs than it does on providing a permanent way to share them online.
Rather than provide permanent photo sharing and storage, it’s geared more towards collaborative private albums (called collections) that your family and friends can all contribute to. While services like Flickr or Facebook are great for sharing photographs from a particular trip or event, they don’t provide efficient collaboration features or ways to download entire albums at full resolution.
Troovi allows up to 250 photographs per collection, and one click downloading of the entire collection at full resolution as a ZIP file. This is great for people looking to quickly exchange photographs rather than simply view them.
Free collections are supported by advertising and expire after 30 days of inactivity, while premium collections start at $1.49, expire after 90 inactive days, and allow an unlimited number of photos per collection.
While it looks like Facebook is attempt to make exchanging photos easier with its Photos application, it’s unlikely it will rival Troovi in allowing you to download hundreds of full resolution photographs from events, since Facebook doesn’t store full resolution versions of uploaded images.