BubbleShare Live brings screen sharing to photos

Toronto based photo sharing site BubbleShare launched a demo today of a new service that may help differentiate themselves in the incredibly crowded photo sharing space. Called BubbleShare Live, the service allows multiple people to view and control a slide show and pointer on a shared web page. While other photo sharing applications operate asynchronously (I upload at one time, you view whenever you like) BubbleShare Live offers a way for multiple people to interact with photos at the same time.

The 8 person team behind BubbleShare was founded in late 2004, has been live for 10 months and is headed by CEO Albert Lai. No funding has been announced to date.

We have written about BubbleShare here before and the core features of the system are strong. You can start using the service fast – no account is needed to share photos, add audio captions and cartoon speech bubbles. Account holders can access a wide variety of other photo management and bookmarking features.

What’s most exciting to me though is the new service BubbleShare Live. Without installing any software users can effectively share browser windows to look at photos together. Anyone on the page can control the slide show and the pointer to highlight details in the images, or some users can be sent to a URL that only views page activity. It’s just in demo form right now, but you can go and try it out.

If you’re going to look at it by yourself, you can open a second browser window to the same URL your click-through to the demo lands on and see how well it works.

BubbleShare Live is built with a flash application at the server level, with only HTML facing users. It’s pretty smooth and a great idea. The company says they plan on adding chat and more user info in the near term future. If it scales well, it could be a powerful tool. I can imagine throwing screen shots into the system and using it to point out parts of multiple web pages with someone over the phone – for free!

There are obviously countless photo sharing services online. I think BubbleShare stood out with some interesting features even before the introduction of this Live component. Now it’s something I’m excited to use.