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.
Some of the larger players in the photo space are also thinking hard about making photos more collaborative and social. Just early last month Facebook acquired group photo sharing service Divvyshot.
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?
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?
In an announcement on the Google Photos Blog today, Google announced that the maximum number of albums allowed for a Picasa account has been increased from 1,000 to 10,000.
While this is “good news” for everyone who uses the service, I wonder what percentage of users this actually benefits. Some statistics on Picasa usage would have been an interesting and illuminating addition to the announcement:
We want Picasa Web Albums to be a place you can share and store all your digital photos, regardless of how many you have. We recently made extra storage really affordable, but until now, Picasa Web accounts have been limited to a maximum of 1,000 albums. We heard that you needed more room, and because we want you to keep sharing your photos and posting them to Buzz, we’ve worked hard to now raise this limit to 10,000 albums.
Expect Google to continue beefing up Picasa in 2010 in order to seriously challenge Flickr for a bigger slice of the photo sharing pie.
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.
Israeli startup Dropico thinks there’s time to be saved in online photo management. The company has just launched its flash-based web application that allows you to manage your photographs across various web services (i.e. Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, etc…) all in one place.
Each photo sharing service is displayed in a separate box, allowing you to easily drag and drop photographs from one service to another. Transferring a photograph from Facebook to Flickr took literally a couple seconds, and photos can be moved in batch as well, but currently requires clicking a checkbox on each one.
A problem we found was that giving after giving Dropico permanent access to your social media account, there doesn’t seem to be any way to revoke permission or to change accounts unless you go to that application (i.e. Facebook) and revoke the permissions there.
Despite the current lack of advanced features and minor usability flaws, the idea behind Dropico seems pretty solid. Also, TechCrunch reports that the service is planning to provide an aggregate stream of your friends’ photographs across social networks, allowing you to follow all the latest photos in one place.
fotojournal is a new photoblogging service by Canadian company Robot Republic geared towards professional photographers, allowing them to showcase their work in a blog format.
They just had their launch party a couple days ago, and the pay-as-you-go service will soon be fully open to the public (they’re currently in invite-only private beta). No word on what their pricing model is.
The site is well designed, and allows you to display your photographs in various templates without requiring HTML knowledge. Among the templates is one that features your photographs at a large Big Picture-esque resolution:
The photo hosting and sharing space is chock-full of competition, but fotojournal might be able to find a niche with its clean design and flexible format.
Flixtime is a website launched recently by Stock photography service Fotolia that helps you easily transform your photos, videos, and text into short 60-second flash video clips.
Creating a video requires an account, and you can choose to either use your own photographs, or stock photographs provided by Fotolia. Once the video is created, you can either share it online or download it to your computer. Generic animations can be added to your video, which can be saved in a large number of video formats.
If you need to create a short video clip for whatever reason, Flixtime is a pretty fast way to get it done.
If you’re an amateur photographer looking to go pro, finding clients is often a difficult task. Snapm aims to make it easier by offering comparison shopping to people looking for high quality photography by amateur photographers.
It may have never occurred to you to hire a photographer for any reason before because it was always so expensive to hire a professional, and inconvenient to find an amateur. But Snapm opens the doors to the idea of hiring an affordable amateur photographer…
To get listed in the searches, you need to sign up for the service and create a portfolio, which looks like this:
Snapm embraces the startup mantra of “release early, release often”, so many of the features offered aren’t very polished yet. For example, while search returns a list of photographers near you, you cannot currently filter or sort by rate or reviews. However, if Snapm does begin to take off, it might become a great way to land your next gig.