Ex-Yahoo CEO Launches Shine, an AI-Powered Group Photo Sharing App

Shine is an AI-powered group photo-sharing app for iPhone and the web

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s newly announced photo-sharing app, Shine, has some around the internet asking, “What year is this from?”

Mayer, who served as president and chief executive officer of Yahoo from 2012 to 2017, started Lumi Labs with former colleague Enrique Munoz Torres in 2018. In 2020, the company rebranded to Sunshine and released its first product, Sunshine Contacts, an iOS and Android app that promises to help users keep their contacts organized using algorithms, a user’s data, and public data sources.

Shine’s debut has been met with polarized opinions, with some celebrating the app’s promised easy and intuitive group photo sharing, and others, like Business Insider‘s Katie Notopoulos, asserting that Shine’s “design and concept looks straight out of 2009.”

Shine is an AI-powered group photo-sharing app for iPhone and the web

The app centers on sharing photos directly with your friends and family. “With Shine, a photo belongs to a time and place, and the people who were there,” explains the app’s store listing.

Users create curated albums for past, current, and even future events, providing people with a fast way to upload and share photos. Invited group members can see the included pictures and even add their own.

The app, like Sunshine Contacts, relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the overall user experience. In Shine’s case, users can either manually control the photos in their shared album, culling as they see fit, or rely on AI to automatically curate the “best” photos.

“Shine uses AI to understand which pictures are shareworthy for an album. That means looking at where and when they were taken, who is in them, and clustering photos of the same scene or moment. It also avoids photos that you likely don’t want to share with a group (screenshots, personal selfies). In Magic Mode, shareworthy photos are automatically uploaded to the album and, for the photos Shine isn’t sure about, it asks you,” the developer explains.

With user permission, the app can also analyze a person’s photos to look for patterns and help identify groups that might be a good fit for sharing specific images. This goes for other members of a group, too. Once they accept an invite to join, they can allow the app to browse their photos, looking for fitting ones to add.

Shine is an AI-powered group photo-sharing app for iPhone and the web

Shine may be helpful for users who regularly capture photos of events and forget to share them. Just because people take more pictures than ever, and they’re generally easy to share, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve the photo-sharing process.

That said, some apps have already tackled these problems. For example, the group photo-sharing app Cluster launched more than a decade ago.

Despite a user interface and app design that many call outdated, Shine hopes to differentiate itself by implementing AI and using full-resolution photos. While individual users may see compressed images on their app, as a user review on the Apple App Store points out, the service does save original photos. Even if a preview looks low-quality, users will get a high-quality image when they download it from the app.

“Please, can you hire a designer?” asks Bryce Shcmidtchen on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This app serves a great purpose but its visual design is shockingly bad and outdated.”

Mayer quickly replied, “Thank you and yes! Please send leads our way.” So even though some users are roasting Shine’s overall look and user experience, the company appears open to hiring the people it needs to improve the service. When looking at an older house that needs some work, a prospective home buyer might say, “It has good bones.”

Shine is available to download for free on iOS. By the way, “free” does mean free, as Shine doesn’t include in-app purchases. Shine also works on desktop via its website. The web version includes generative AI that people can use to create images for their event invites.

Image credits: Sunshine