Toronto-based startup MyShoebox is facing a time in which photo sharing announcements are thick and deep; Google unveiled its updated Google+ photos experience last week at I/O, and this week we seen pretty big announcements from Yahoo! around Flickr. Does that intimate MyShoebox, a photo-focused startup launching its version 2.0 product on the tail of those bits of news? Not really, says MyShoebox founder and CEO Steve Cosman.
MyShoebox is a service that scans a user’s entire offline photo collection, uploads it to cloud storage and applies organization algorithms to automatically categorize pics and provide different ways of viewing them. The cloud-based computational stuff is similar to what Google unveiled last week, though Google’s product is more advanced in terms of being able to identify “keeper” shots and automatically enhance uploads, but Cosman says his company isn’t worried about lagging behind giants like Google in terms of computational power.
“I’m envious of the tech they’ve got,” he said in an interview. “We’re not about to catch up to Google in terms of cloud computational power and sophistication… [but] it’s much more interesting when you apply it to 10,000 photos than to the ones you upload piecemeal. If your photos are still sitting on the hard drive, there’s not much you can do with cloud computing editing tricks.”
MyShoebox’s strength is in getting the pictures from storage and sources that aren’t connected, to the web, as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s a shotgun, not a scalpel, and it’s very good at what it does. Now, the version 2.0 update introduces features that make that wide-cast net even wider, since it allows for sharing with friends and family. The new Shared Gallery feature means you can swap photos with small groups of friends, each dumping into the same pool. Cosman says that where you’d normally only get the one or two photos with you in it your friend chooses to upload, with this new system you’ll end up with thousands of photos added to your collection. His own nearly doubled when beta testing this feature, he says.
Also new with this update is a dedicated iPad app, as well as rebuilt mobile apps for browsing your uploaded photo collection. The whole point of the update has been on taking the MVP that MyShoebox launched back in October, which saw tremendous demand, and bring it up to a level of performance that could better wow users. Cosman says that interest and engagement continues to be consistently high for MyShoebox, but says we’ll have to wait a while longer for updated hard numbers on its user base.
The company may be a small fish in a big pond, but it’s looking to be the service that’s first to solve the problem of not what to do with your photos once they’re online, but the one that gets them there in the first place. That will put it in a perfect position to leverage the cloud computing tricks that are making photo editing and sharing great once they’re there, Cosman believes.