PicYou: Instagram for the Web
Uploading pictures to the web is nothing new. It’s been nearly two decades since the first image found its way to the internet. Since then people have taken to uploading pictures for almost every occasion. The web has veritably replaced the picture albums of yore. Nowadays people have the ability to take as many pictures as they want and then store them online. Digital cameras have freed us from the encumbrance of the film that preceded it as well as from the trips to the drug store to process them. I’m sure it’s true that right now there are more pictures in the world than there has ever been in the history of photography. And this will only keep increasing.
Now that taking pictures is so easy the question becomes what to do them. Some people go on a trip and upload 400 photos for their friends to relive every moment of their trip. I remember one friend who visited San Francisco and took pictures of everything. We walked by a manhole cover and I kid you not, she took a picture of that too. When it comes to taking pictures when on a trip I certainly do my part as well. But for sharing I’ve adopted the strategy of only uploading a few unique and iconic photos. It lets people’s imagination fill in the stories based upon a small sampling of the best pics.
When people upload pictures it’s often to a social network. Formally they would be sent to MySpace. Now they send them to Facebook. As these sites come in and out of fashion so do the photos and memories they store. I suspect few people have logged into MySpace recently to relive some moments from their yesteryear. These photo albums of the past are slowly becoming lost to the internet archives, if they can even still remember their passwords. Some may find this shocking but Justin Timberlake himself is now an owner of the company that houses your old photos. Perhaps uploading pictures to the latest fad in the social networking world isn’t the way to go.
When I eat out I like to order the specialty of the restaurant. If I’m at a steakhouse I’ll order steak. At a seafood restaurant I’ll get fish. At a vegetarian restaurant I’ll have a few peanuts knowing full well I’m microwaving a burrito when I get home. The point being, more often than not those that specialize in something are the best providers of it. It’s time for a news flash- social networks weren’t built with photos in mind. Sure they include the ability to upload pictures and share and tag them but at the end of the day they were never intended to be photo albums to keep track of your pics forevermore. Fortunately, there’s a site that is- PicYou. It’s a new social network that revolves around pictures. It’s like an Instagram for the web.
The idea behind PicYou is that you can upload pics and share them with your followers. Before going into details I’ll note the most pressing issue- yes, it’s integrated with Facebook and Twitter. What’s more is that when the next big social network comes around they would have no problem integrating with it also. Finally your photos have a home.
PicYou is a bit like Twitter in it’s Follwer/Following system. Unlike Facebook where both parties must be agreed upon mutual friends it allows one way following relationships. This allows each person to create a unique picture feed from users they like. For instance the first person I followed had a series of pictures of Ferraris. Given my partial attempt to upload interesting pictures in my initial testing I don’t expect that they’ll follow me back just yet. As would be expected your home page is adorned with all the pictures from people you’re following.
Since PicYou entirely revolves around pictures they have a unique and helpful interface for uploading them. You can either drag and drop them to the screen or use the old fashion browse method. Once the picture is uploaded you can add a title and then keyword tags so others can find it. From there you can crop it, include a photo frame, or apply a filter. The filters are particularly interesting. They add unique effects including Albion, Hipster, Kilowatt, and Infatuation. I’ll leave it to users to experiment with them. It’s not a full fledged photo editing tool, but having a few of the basics can be fun to play with.
PicYou enters into what’s known as a red ocean market. This is one that’s comprised of many competitors each of which draws blood, adding a decorative coloration to the pristine waters. But then, for some reason photos are something the web hasn’t gotten right just yet. PicYou is a fun and creative way to share photos with friends, both within its own network and on other social networks. It’s the definitive social network for photo sharing- one where we can both find new and interesting pictures, and finally not have to upload them anywhere else.