Yet Another Aggregating Service


Just a week ago I was at friend’s wedding. The bride was beautiful, the music danceable, and the whole event was a great fun. And as always in such occasions, lots of photos have been taken by several people. Usually what happens in these cases is that you come home, and over the next days your receive emails from friends with links to online albums of the event. Usually these are from different providers such as Facebook, PicasaWeb and Flickr. So eventually you end up with several disjointed online photo albums with no way to view all the photos in one convenient place.

Now, as the participant I am usually interested in a small subset of the photos (I tend to favor those that feature me 🙂 ), but as an organizer I would be probably interested in all the photos of relatively good quality. I would like to have a service that would allow me to bring together all the disjointed online photo albums into one viewing experience, and share them in a consistent way (and not a series of links of albums from different authors and different providers).

The Service
So what I am looking for is a collaborative meta-album that would have the following features:

  1. The ability to import photos from different online providers into one cohesive album
  2. UI that would support everything we come to expect from photo viewer: slideshows; filtering by author, scene, etc;
  3. Easily aggregatable – I would like to have a Firefox add-on that would recognize links to photo albums on any web-page (but especially inside emails), and feature a hovering balloon with “add these photos to your meta-album” button
  4. Easily shareable – obvious, really
  5. Support for private “projections” of the album – after signing in, every user can select the photos he likes, and dispense with all the others. It won’t affect the public meta-album, or all the other private projections
  6. No concept of limited disk space – as the service is intended for people that wish to collect all the existing photos of an event, there shouldn’t be any concern with disk space

Who Is It For
A need for such service arises only when you have to deal with multiple photo albums of the same event, and when you want to share all those photos in a consistent way. Wedding, conferences, company presentations – what these events have in common is numerous participants, multiple photographers, and a party that is interested in collecting all the photos and sharing them in a consistent way. For organizers of these events, such service can come in handy.

Not Another Aggregator

There are so many web services, that do nothing aside from, well..aggregating existing content and data, that it’s hard not to feel skeptical about any such service. The following are legitimate concerns:

  1. The obstacle of habit – everyone has his favorite service/program that he uses to view and save photos. Persuading that some new service is better in some way is challenging
  2. No obvious business model – while other photo services usually charge for disk space and for developing photos, suggesting the same model here would be plain boring and unimaginative

To Summarize
While there is nothing especially innovating in a service that would serve as a virtual home for different photo albums from different authors and providers, it seams there is a value in it, at least in several special use cases.

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