It’s a strange thing to hear from the co-founder and CEO of a photo startup, but DMD Panorama‘s Elie-Gregoire Khoury tells me that panoramic photos will become “a commodity at the end of the day.” That doesn’t mean it’s time to get out of the photo business — instead, Khoury wants to see panoramas become a standard feature in a wide range of websites and apps, the way that regular photos are now.
And if Khoury has his way, that will all happen through DMD’s new API.
Since launching in June 2011 on the iPhone, DMD Panorama has been downloaded 4.5 million times, Khoury says. His aim was to build the fastest, easiest way to take panoramic photos, and he may have succeeded — this Wall Street Journal article, for example, describes the app as “the easiest-to-use panoramic picture app on the iPhone.”
I was definitely impressed when I tried the app out for myself. To take a panoramic picture, you just activate the camera and move the phone sideways, bringing together the yin and yang signs on your screen. The process is only slightly more complicated and time-consuming than taking a normal photo.
DMD Panorama was built by a five-person team in Lebanon. Khoury says the country’s infrastructure presented a few challenges — like only six hours of electricity per day and a 2 gigabyte monthly download cap on the office Internet connection — but the company succeeded in making hit app, and it raised angel funding from investors including early Googler Georges Harik and the Berytech Fund.
Now Khoury is hoping to enlist app developers to use DMD’s free API. Ultimately, Khoury wants DMD to power the photo-taking experience in any app where panoramic photos might be useful — for example, Khoury suggests that DMD could bring panoramic photos into a postcard app, or it could help people take panoramic pictures to show off their homes in rental apps like Airbnb.
Users will need to have DMD Panorama installed in order to take advantage of the integration, but once they do, the goal is to create a seamless experience between DMD and integrated apps. So when using another app, users could hit a “panorama” button (or whatever) at the appropriate moment, which would either open DMD Panorama or prompt them to install it. They take the photo in DMD, then they’re returned to the original app.
Khoury says he’s testing the API out with a few partners before opening it up more broadly, so interested developers should email api (at) DerManDar (dot) com.