Photo sharing is proving to be one of the main battlegrounds in the social networking war between Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Facebook launched another counterattack today by increasing the resolution of displayed photos yet again from 720px to 960px, a 33% increase (last year they increased by 20% from 604px to 720px). Furthermore, the company claims that photos now load twice as fast as before.
Google’s new Photovine mobile photo sharing app for iOS is now out of private beta and open to public signups. Here’s how the iTunes download page describes it:
Photovine is a fun way to learn more about your friends, meet new people, and share your world like never before. It all starts with what we call a photovine: a group of photos around a single, shared caption. Start a new vine with a photo and caption of your own or add your photo/take on someone else’s vine.
It has a long ways to go before it can catch Instagram, which is currently the 800-pound gorilla in this space. Instagram has already passed 7 million registered users, who have uploaded more than 700 million photos. Google has a pretty big reach though, so products launched by the company can get really big, really fast — just look at Google+.
Photovine (via TechCrunch)
The photo sharing feature on Twitter that we first reported on a couple months ago is now live for all users. This nudges the service a little more closer towards what Facebook and Google+ offer, allowing users to upload and share photos directly through Twitter. Third-party photo-sharing services geared towards Twitter users can’t be too happy about this — the founder of TwitPic turned down a $10 million offer back in 2009, only to have Twitter drink its milkshake a couple years later.
Update: Apparently TwitPic’s founder is striking back by launching a competitor to Twitter called Heello. This is getting interesting…
If you’re not convinced that Google is jumping into the photo-sharing pool head first, get this: the company has not one, but two stealthy photo sharing apps in private beta. Besides the Pool Party app that came to light at the beginning of the month, the rumored Photovine service has now materialized into a website — well, a landing page, at least.
For photo enthusiasts, Google’s new Google+ social network is something like Flickr mixed with Facebook. It has the social sharing power of Facebook while providing features and tools Flickr users would appreciate thanks to the fact that Google runs a full-fledged photo-sharing service in Picasa (soon to be brought into the Google+ fold and renamed Google Photos). One such feature is the EXIF data section, easily accessed for each photo by Action->Photo Details. Most Facebook users would likely be confused by having a histogram pop up for their images, but for loyal Picasa users using Google+ for sharing and viewing photos, it’s quite a nifty option.
Flickr is a popular method of sharing photos, but the service doesn’t provide any easy way to download them in bulk. Flick and Share is a web app that creates simple download links for Flickr sets that you can send to family and friends, allowing them to quickly download a copy of the images you shot at an event. We’ve tested it out, and it works as advertised.
Flick and Share (via Lifehacker)
Mobile photo sharing star Instagram just announced its 5 millionth member and will soon pass 100 million photos, but their domination of the market may not last much longer. According to TechCrunch, Facebook — a service that receives 6 billion photos a month and stores 100 billion photos total — is currently working on a feature-packed iPhone app that may soon be ubiquitous on iPhones.
The information comes from 50MB of images and documents leaked to the blog, and TechCrunch says that the app can be described as Path meets Instagram meets Color meets With. Unlike the legions of photo sharing apps struggling to capture users, Facebook can simply tap its 600+ million users to instantly dominate the market — much like it did with photo sharing on the web.
Update: TechCrunch has just published a large number of screenshots showing the app in action.
The mobile photo sharing space is hot right now, with services like Instagram, Picplz, and Path growing like weeds. A new contender called Color is causing some buzz after successfully raising a whopping $41 million… before even launching. The company has seven notable founders who have either started successful companies in the past (e.g. Lala and BillShrink) or have held executive positions at them (LinkedIn). Among the investors is Sequoia Capital, one of the most influential and successful firms in Silicon Valley and the firm that funded Google. They gave Color more than they gave Google.
A new German company called X-Pire wants to give you a little more peace of mind with photographs you share online by allowing you to share them with a time-based “self-destruct” feature. According to Yahoo News,
The software should prevent the increasingly frequent occurrence of someone being refused a job or running into other embarrassing difficulties after posting a photo that maybe should have been kept private.
Before the user posts the photo, he or she drags it into the programme which assigns it an electronic key that is valid for a limited time period, said Michael Backes, founder of X-Pire.
If someone wishes to view that photo later, the server checks whether the photo has “expired” and blocks it from being displayed if its time is up.
While this might be effective in dealing with certain privacy situations, it doesn’t prevent people from downloading the “protected” photos since anything that’s visible online can be downloaded (e.g. a screenshot of it can be taken). Still, it’s an interesting attempt at a solution for people wary of having embarrassing photographs come back to haunt them in the future. It’ll be available by the end of Jan 2011 with a subscription-based cost of €24 ($32) per year.
With the ongoing craze in photo sharing services on mobile devices, it’s not surprising to see new photo apps launching left and right. Stealthy startup Path is a bit different though, with their high powered team launching an unusual sharing service service a couple days ago.