NeroKwik, the cloud photo organization service from the makers of the leading disc-burning software of old, is officially debuting its iPhone and iPad app today. The iOS clients join its existing Android and online products, offering users the ability to pull in all the photos they’ve uploaded to Facebook and Google+, organize them by metadata and other criteria, and view them in ready-made presentations called “Tapestries.”
The iOS launch of the NeroKwik app means it now reaches the vast majority of mobile users and, therefore, a much broader potential audience for the company’s cloud photo play. Nero isn’t the first digital-media company to identify this trend, of course. Adobe offers Revel, a similar product, to try to keep up with users as they move to cloud storage and web-based photo-album sharing. But Nero’s approach is unique in that it lets others handle the heavy lifting of actually storing pics, and in that it offers its services to users for free.
Nero Chief Product Officer Martin Stein took me through the app and explained how it was different. “It’s a photo-sharing application,” he said, explaining that the primary focus is making sure that NeroKwik handles not only social aspects, but also organization into galleries beforehand so that you don’t have to curate before you share. And since users already upload their libraries to existing services like Facebook and Google+ (much of which is now handled automatically via smartphone library-syncing tools), there’s no need to reinvent the wheel with a brand new cloud storage service. Instead, why not just use existing services like a source directory and work from there?
Other services like MyShoebox do similar things when it comes to NeroKwik’s automated gallery-generation tools, which organize photos into “Tapestry” galleries based on minimal input from a user, but they also require you to upload images to the service to begin with. The hosting aspect is where all the cost lies in most of these cases, which is why they generally go with monthly subscription plans (Adobe Revel does this, too) to compensate for server load costs.
NeroKwik will eventually offer paid plans, too, Stein told me, but those will come in the form of allowing access to the service on more devices, or unlocking premium features. The basic service, the one offered currently, will remain free. But allowing other companies to hold the reins when it comes to actually storing photos could be a double-edged sword, since it’s conceivable they could change their access rules. Still, Stein and company think this is the right approach, since it simplifies the world of a user’s cloud photo storage, rather than adding yet another dimension of complication.
Sharing options allow you to share entire Tapestries or just single photos with friends and family who don’t need the app to view it. You can also share to Facebook and Google+, as well as edit Tapestries on the fly and have those changes automatically flow out to all other devices. The browsing interface is attractive, and there are options for changing how much data is actually transferred from the cloud for when you’re on 3G.
Overall, Nero has done a very good job with NeroKwik. It’s a smart effort from a company that is wisely investing in new initiatives to help it stay relevant in a changing digital world, and if you store most of your photos on one of the major social networking platforms, it’s well worth your time to check out.