Popset, a new mobile app from the current Winter 2012 batch of Y Combinator startups, is a way for groups of friends to privately share photos. Oh what, you’ve heard that one before? Yes, it’s true – mobile photo-sharing is a crowded space. However, there hasn’t been a de facto leader established in the particular category Popset is after: sharing photos in private groups, easy photo album creation, and support for exporting entire albums to Facebook.
Each of Popset’s features may remind you somewhat of other apps, including group texting apps like Beluga and GroupMe, the earlier incarnation of Path, Batch, LiveShare, and others, but none of Popset’s competitors share the exact same feature set implemented in the exact same way.
Path, for example, has moved on from only photo-sharing to become a “share everything” app. GroupMe et al. are meant more for group texting, not photo album creation and sharing. Batch lets you upload to Facebook, but it posts links to your Wall – it doesn’t export entire albums. Plus, (and personal preference alert here!), Popset has a look-and-feel that puts it ahead of much of its photo-sharing competition right out of the gate. And for what it’s worth, it has created a good mix of both utility and pleasure.
The app is simple to set up, allowing you to sign in via Facebook, optionally invite friends, then jump right into creating your first album. Thanks to the app’s Facebook integration, you’ll also be able to see the photo albums shared by other Facebook friends who are Popset users, assuming those albums haven’t been set as private.
After starting your album, you give it a title, click next, then, on a very easy to understand screen, you answer three key questions related to privacy: Where? (check or uncheck to have the photos geotagged), Who can add photos? (You, those in your current location, or you plus specific friends), and Who can see this album? (Public or Private).
Albums, whether public, semi-public or private, work well in several scenarios, including private photo-sharing with just a few friends or family members, photo-sharing at events like weddings or parties or for sharing photos around a given topic or interest with other like-minded friends. And if you later decide to share the album on a larger social network like Facebook, exporting the entire album is an option.
However, even though Popset could be used for many purposes, it’s that Facebook export option that could end up being its best feature in the long run. Uploading a lot of photos to Facebook quickly and easily is still a challenge. There are a ton of utility-type applications out there for the purpose (I often use iLoader, for example), and while they get the job done, they don’t do so with any style. And they definitely don’t have Popset’s expanded feature set that could draw you in for other tasks, too, like tweeting out links to photo albums, emailing them, or sharing them over SMS text messaging, for example.
Popset still has to make some improvements though. The Facebook export option won’t support unlimited uploads until a later release (expected soon) – it only supports up to 10 photos at a time right now. The team already plans to add many other interesting features, too, like photo filters, selective photo exports, the ability to choose the album’s privacy settings on Facebook before export, syncing albums’ likes and comments to Facebook, and more.
Popset was founded this spring by a team of four, Phillip Wein, Jan Senderk, Nicolas Boes, and Daniel Wagner and has YC’s $20K in funding, plus the $150,000 from StartFund which all YC companies now receive.
You can grab the app here for free in iTunes.
Popset is the easiest way to start group photo albums with friends, directly from a mobile phone. We started as four friends and mobile photographers who were tired of emailing our photos back and forth or hunting for them on Facebook. That’s why we’ve created an easy and beautiful way for friends to keep their photos together, at parties, concerts, road trips, hangouts, you name it — wherever your adventures are, Popset is there.