ShoeBox, the mobile app that lets you scan old photos and post them online, is today announcing Facebook Timeline integration. Using the newly released version of the ShoeBox iOS application, users will be able to scan photographs of family and friends using their smartphone, tag users by name, and then share those photos to Facebook.
But here’s the really cool part: ShoeBox is one of the first Timeline-integrated apps that’s letting you post photos into the past. By that, I mean you can edit the date on your photo, and it will post to the correct place on your Facebook Timeline. Nifty!
I’ll admit to being a huge fan of what 1000memories is doing with its ShoeBox app, something which probably shows my age. I, like many of you (old people), didn’t “grow up” on Facebook. My childhood and young adulthood were captured by flash bulbs, printouts, and trips to the drug store to pick up prints – not smartphones and social networks. ShoeBox provides an easy way to get those old photos online so they can actually be shared and enjoyed.
In its first release back in October, the ShoeBox app allowed you to quickly snap a smartphone photo of a printed photo, crop, flatten and rotate the image, then fill in missing information, like that which might be scrawled on the back of the printout (where the photo was taken, who’s in it, what you were doing, date, etc.)
However, until today, none of that information actually appeared in the correct format to be useful on Facebook. It only worked to supplement on 1000memories’ own website, its social network of days past at 1000memories.com.
With today’s launch of the new iPhone application, things have changed. Now you can find and follow Facebook friends in the app and tag your Facebook friends by name so they’re alerted when the photos go online, a much-needed addition. You’re also now able to edit the date on the Facebook post to send it “back in time” to the date you specify.
Interestingly, this process of posting to the past could have been automated, but 1000memories says the team decided to use Facebook’s Photos API and not the OpenGraph API. Since the Photos API allows posts to appear on the Timeline in a different way – big and beautiful like Instagram now does – they decided to use it instead.
But the company is pushing Facebook to revive support for EXIF data for the ShoeBox app itself, which would allow users to automatically post pictures to the right spot while also still appearing in the attractive, larger format. EXIF (exchangeable image file format) is a standard format that contains a digital photo’s metadata information, – e.g., details about the camera’s make and model or the photo’s timestamp.
Facebook briefly supported EXIF data during Timeline’s tests, but stopped doing so because users were “freaked out” that Facebook knew when a photo was taken. Now Facebook is now more cautious about when and where it supports EXIF.
However, in a case like ShoeBox’s, using EXIF data would simplify the process of time-stamping these photos appropriately. Although the photo in question wouldn’t have been a digital photo to start, ShoeBox could still send Facebook EXIF data that relates to the scanned-in photo’s actual data of capture as indicated by a user’s caption (e.g., “Halloween 1985,” “beach trip 1997,” etc.).
The updated ShoeBox app is likely to be the first of many Timeline-integrated apps to come, now that the Facebook Timeline is mandatory. Although not everyone is thrilled about Facebook’s new look, when you can get past the knee-jerk “change is bad” mentality, there’s a pretty compelling use case here with the idea of filling out the missing Timeline dates with old photos. With Timeline, Facebook is no longer just a utility for social networking, it’s a digital representation of our lives. For it to be a truer reflection those lives, however, properly supporting the 4 trillion printed out photos in the world would be a good start.
The new version of the ShoeBox app is available here. (And yes, Android is coming).