shared albums
Wink

So It’s Like Color? Evertale Pivots, Launches Real-Time Photo Sharing App Wink

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Evertale, a Copenhagen-based startup originally focused on creating an automatic log of your life, including everything from phone calls to checkins to photos taken, is pivoting. Or more accurately, it’s today launching a product born out of Evertale’s best feature – shared photo albums.  The new app, called Wink, joins the now fairly crowded space involving social photo albums built on the fly.

This new breed of apps are all themselves a variation on Color, the social photo album app maker, which spectacularly folded after raising $40 million in funding without gaining user traction. Today’s apps playing in this same space are more modestly funded, to say the least. Some of the top players include Flock, Tracks, Flayvr, and Moment.me, to name just of few of the “auto-magical” album makers out now.

02For the most part, these apps rely on things like smartphone sensors, algorithms and the user’s social graph to determine where you were when photos were taken. They then combine those with other photos your friends and family took at the same venue. Flock, from the makers of Bump, is probably the better known of the current group, offering grouped albums which can also be shared out to Facebook, or via SMS or email.

Wink, however, has a different take. Instead of focusing on shared albums, the startup is thinking about shared, private albums. That is, the decision to share out to other networks isn’t included within Wink’s app by design.

But more importantly, the way you interact with Wink is also different. While other album building apps allow you to upload photos you took in the past, matching them up with those from others’ albums, Wink faces a (familiar) cold start problem. Launch the app when there’s no one around, and you’re shown a list of recommended friends based on your social graph which you can invite to Wink. You can also tap on the “radar” feature on the bottom of the screen to see which friends are on Wink, but who are not nearby. Helpful?

03If no one is nearby or registered on Wink, then there’s no way to start taking photos. CEO Francsco Patarnello says that this will be changed in a later version. In the few months of testing, he says that users found it easier to understand the instant sharing experience when someone was around, so the team optimized for that.

The company is targeting those ages 18 to 24, in high school and college, so the idea is that a group of friends would have to collectively agree to install Wink in order for it to gain traction. Hmm. Color had $41 million dollars and the same idea, pivoted away from that, then failed. Wink has an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Mangrove Capital– early backers of Skype, and shopping sites Brands4Friends and KupiVIP. It also clearly has the powers of positive thinking on its side.

If you manage to convince your friends to use Wink, it then offers real-time private photo sharing, as well as import of other photos you may have taken with different camera apps. And it will also tag the photos of your nearby friends automatically. But at the end of the day, Wink seems a big bet that Color was too early and mismanaged, not that it was a bad idea to begin with.

The company didn’t offer a current beta build of the app for testing beforehand, and much changed between the build in the App Store (a month old) and the one now launching, so we’re refraining from a hands-on review at this point in time.

Wink is available for download here, but the updated version won’t arrive until later on today, so be aware.