TC50: Fotonauts Is a Gorgeous Photopedia

Comment

Jean-Marie Huillot wants to create “a Wikipedia of pictures,” a Photopedia, if you will. The former CTO of NeXT and Apple’s Applications Division launched Fotonauts today at TechCrunch50. Fotonauts helps photographers organize, upload, synchronize, and share their photos. But it does more than that. It adds data from Wikipedia, Google Maps, and other places to photo albums and then publishes those albums as Web pages with one click of a button.

You can add photos from your desktop or the various existing photo-sharing services such as Flickr and Picasa or add Creative Commons photos taken by other people to each album. There is also a social element in that you can follow other “fotonauts” or specific Web albums via an event stream.

During the demo, Huillot created an album from photos he took on a recent trip to Nepal. He selected some photos from Katmandu, toggled over to a Wikipedia article about Katmandu within the app, found the name of the temple that he visited (Pashupatinath Temple), and added that as a tag to all the relevant photos. He then added photos he uploaded from an Internet cafe to Picassa.

But when he went to Boudhanath, he forgot his camera. “Fortunately,” says Huillot, “there are people on the Web smarter than me. When they go to a place as interesting as Boudhanath they don’t forget their camera.” And some of them take better pictures. Fotonauts also lets you search for photos under Creative Commons licenses with similar tags and add them to the album. All the photos are geo-tagged and placed on a map, which is added to the page. And content from relevant Wikipedia pages are also added below the photos.

Web albums can also be built collaboratively. And that is where the Photopedia concept comes in. Photographers can add photos and other data on specific places and topics, all smartly tagged and organized by Fotonauts. And best of all, all the photos in Fotonauts are synchronized with existing photo services. So all the tags and metadata that you add in Fotonauts automatically is added to all of those same pictures in your Flickr or Picasa albums. Huillot concluded:

With Fotonauts, keep looking at Picasa, Flickr, we synchronize your photos wherever you like. This is the first step to creating the semantic web for pictures. Distribute your creation everywhere, your website, your favorite event stream, wherever you want.

Click here to watch a video of the Fotonauts demo.

Expert Panelists

Robert Scoble: “It is really cool. I want to try it when I get home. It is Flickr done right. It makes the photo much more social. Where is the business on this though?”

Huillot: “On the business side maybe surprisingly we are in a good position. We are not like Flickr or Photobucket, We are not just storing your photos. We are more in a Wikipedia situation. Our users are creating content that is useful to the whole community.”

Sheryl Sandberg: “I think it is an interesting technology and a great service. The advertising applicability is hard. This has been tried in different ways. There is the question of intent when people are looking at pictures.”

Bradley Horowitz: “It does seem like tagging has always happened in a closet. This socializes that experience. This is an unmet need. I share some concerns about how you monetize it, but those are allayed by a feeling that you have created something that could become a phenomenon like Wikipedia.”

Huillot: “That is what my investors are telling me.”

Fotonauts has raised $2.3 million from Ignition Partners, Paris-based Banexi, Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech, and Joi Ito, Reid Hoffman, and Ron Conway.

See Dan Farber for more
.

More TechCrunch

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions