Oh crap, it’s Valentine’s Day. Did you just remember, too, courtesy of that clever Google Doodle? The blogosphere will be filled today with last-minute gift ideas and other such ephemera related to this mushy holiday, and while I’m refusing the V-Day pitches as a general rule, there is a startup announcing its launch today that’s actually kind of fun. The company is called Walnuts, and it’s a Facebook app that can automatically build you a digital or printed book of your best Facebook photos and status updates, or even those belonging to a Facebook friend. Last-minute gift idea? Yeah, sure. But not a bad gift the other 364 days of the year, either.
The idea for a printed out book featuring your Facebook data is hardly novel. (See, for example, MySocialMemories, Yearbound, egobook, BookofFame, etc., to name just a few.). However, the Walnuts book has a couple of special features. For starters, unlike many of the Facebook photobooks, it doesn’t just support building albums out of your own data – you can also enter in a friend’s name to build them a book instead. Of course, you’ll need to be Facebook friends with the person in question in order for this to work.
After entering in the required info, the book is automatically created for you, using either your top status updates and photos (those that have the most likes, comments, etc.) or you can specify a particular photo album or albums to use instead. Any content you don’t want can be “X”ed out from the book after it’s done.
The resulting book has the appearance of a hand-written journal, as opposed to a more professional, typewritten creation. This is by design, says founder Helen Spaull. “Another photobook I was playing with came up with sort of impersonal content, like ‘63% of your friends are male.’ It’s infographics,” she lamented, “It’s not human, it’s a little bit soulless. As a customer, I want the most human, most valuable content on each page. I don’t really want to know about the word I used most often…I see [Walnuts] as more like a scrapbook.”
With its handwritten font and support for pulling in things like photos’ comments, that is the resulting feel for the app’s creation. But it’s still very much a work in progress. I’d like to be able to re-arrange the content on the page, or pick out specific friends’ tags or status updates’ by keyword to determine what gets featured. These sorts of things may be implemented further down the road, says Spaull.
In the near future, a forthcoming version of the app will allow you to customize who’s included in the “Hall of Fame” section (which shows all your Facebook friends’ profile photos in the beginning of the book), the ability to add or remove individual status updates instead of just the status update pages themselves, and other sorts of customizations.
The book is available in softcover ($9.90 med., $12.90 lrg.) or hardcover ($19.90), but can be shared in its digital format via Facebook post for free. Remember: it’s the thought that counts! (Also, have you seen what roses are selling for today? Yikes.)
Walnuts has under $100K in seed funding at present through a single investor.