Umundo is a new service that allows users to share photos and video captured on mobile phones without the need to set up an account. By entering a phone number or email, anyone can subscribe to a feed in a number of online readers or in iTunes. Code is also available to display video on MySpace pages.
The system is very easy to use and seems unique in its support for uploading both photos and video by phone. Unfortunately the ease of use comes at a serious cost in functionality.
Since there are no accounts required there’s no option to remove single images or videos from your feed. The entire feed can be deleted at once, but in the fast paced world of embarrassing social blunders and inappropriate teenage behavior that MySpace covers it seems important to have the option of deleting a single photo. If there was a simple account page available this and other issues could be easily solved.
Widespread adoption is also likely to be mitigated by the fact that you can’t view photos in iTunes or MySpace. According to the FAQ only video is supported in those systems. There are certainly ways to offer code to display images in a feed directly on an HTML page. Given how widespread iTunes use is it would make sense to me to offer images as album art. The system is interesting because it offers both photo and video support, but the photo support seems like it was an afterthought. That’s too bad, as I can imagine photos could be integrated better with MySpace and this could get a lot of use.
Feed subscriptions are displayed as “Clip(s) from 2134453567 headlines” in your feed reader and items are title links. A title field for the feed itself would be a logical thing to include. I’m not sure how compelling most MyYahoo users, for example, would find a box on their page with a string of numbers above a list of one line text links.
Hexlet LLC, the company behind Umundo also owns RSSBazaar, a feed publishing service used to deliver content like Umundo images and video. I imagine this means that the company is capable of making some changes to the feed delivery details.
Umundo may become a desirable tool if better functionality develops, but for now I think the ease of use comes at too high a cost.