Shoutout is a new iOS app offering what co-founder and CEO Philip Golbraikh calls “visual texting.”
The idea, basically, is to create an environment where people don’t worry about the quality of their photos and instead treat them as “a visual representation of your message” — this is what I’m doing, here’s something cool I saw on the street, and so on.
Not that there’s anything stopping people from sharing crappy photos elsewhere, and there are other apps in this vein, most notably Snapchat. But Shoutout not only emphasizes the idea of photos-as-communciation, it also makes that communication as simple as possible.
When you open the app, it immediately shows you the view from your iPhone camera. On the bottom third of the screen, you also see icons showing all your connections in the app, as ranked by you. If you want to take a photo, just tap a friend’s icon, and the photo is simultaneously taken and shared. (You can also save a copy in your camera roll.)
“It’s even fewer steps than sending a text message,” said designer Garrett Peek (who was previously the designer of Draw Something).
I’ve been playing with Shoutout over the past day or so, and it really was that simple, though I think I need a bit more time, and need more friends to use the app, to fully get into the spirit of sending randoms photos at any moment.
You can also add filters before you take the picture, and sort your contacts into groups, so you can send a photo to a bunch of friends at once. When you’re on the receiving end, the pictures show up in the app as a stack of photos that you can swipe through — there’s no time limit, but once you’ve looked at a photo, it’s gone.
The app also resembles text messaging in the sense that you only need someone’s username to start sending them pictures; they don’t have to agree to connect with you. On the other hand, if you get really annoying (or worse), they can always block you.
Earlier this year, the team of Golbraikh, Peek, and co-founder/CTO David Alson released an anonymous photo-sharing app called Sneeky. While Sneeky is still available in the App Store, Golbraikh said the company (which is backed by ENIAC Ventures) is now focused on Shoutout.
The app is free, and you can download it here.