Remember Photovine? This was the slick, social photo sharing app rolled out by Google via its acqui-hired Slide developer team in 2011, then relegated to the discontinuation column not one week later, and then finally shut down in March 2012. Now, much like a persistent vine itself, “Photovine” is getting a new lease of life, once again as a photo sharing app — this time launched by a different company.
The new Photovine is the first app to come out of developer house Silo Labs, a seed-stage startup co-founded by Mithun Baphana and Kevin Geehr, based in Southern California and backed by Tech Coast Angels. Silo Labs says it’s working on three different products right now, one of which is Photovine. Silo secured the trademark for “Photovine” earlier this month (Google dropped it in July 2012), and now it is preparing for a mid-February launch.
The idea for Photovine, Baphana says, was “absolutely not” connected to Google or its past efforts with its own Photovine app. “The name ‘Photovine’ came randomly to my mind and from [an] App Store search, I found no such app existed,” he told me. “That is the only reason I decided to go forward with it.”
Although both the new and old Photovines focus on photo sharing, that’s where the similarities end.
Whereas Google’s Photovine was focused on user-generated “themes” for friends to create and share pictures with each other, the new Photovine focuses on aggregating photos from different networks, initially from Facebook and Instagram, and eventually, Baphana says, G+ and other social networks.
“I love seeing seeing photos from Facebook and other social networks more than the text feeds, and I personally did not like the way photos are displayed on these native apps,” says Baphana. “I thought we can do a much better job at displaying those social network photos and give it a nice feel, look and make it more fun experience.”
In (the new) Photovine’s case, it offers users a “photo wheel” as well as an option to shake their devices so that they can spin to animate their pictures and rearrange them in montage format, or as a slideshow.
Given the popularity of different photo apps, it seems like a natural progression for users to look to apps to help manage those disparate photo collections, along with the larger digital photo collections that we’ve amassed on other services like Flickr, Picasa and our own computers.
But if Facebook and Flickr are recognizable names in the cloud-based photo storage world, I’m not sure if there is a similarly high-profile leader in aggregation right now. Indeed, Photovine is not alone in its field: Snapjoy (recently acquired by Dropbox, and now no longer accepting new users), Pixable part of Singtel), and Photopod all offer similar spins on aggregating disparate photo albums and presenting them in more engaging ways.
In the gradual assumption of the Photovine brand, Silo has also requested Apple to issue a notice to Google to release the name “Photovine” — the company’s Slide division had reserved the app name when the first Photovine launched. That is still in progress.
The last remaining brand asset in Google’s hands is the URL photovine.com. There is no operational site at that address right now, so Baphana says the next step is a friendly request try to get Google to relinquish the domain. In the meantime, you can sign up for the new app at www.photovineapp.com.