Photo Sharing, It’s What People Do

I visit and use Facebook very often, at least once a day to check on updates from family members, close friends and mostly to share photos. After reading many articles about Facebook’s IPO and the future of the company I decided to really think about what makes me go back to Facebook almost every day and it is simple to answer… photo sharing. Most of my family members post photos with short captions to Facebook in a daily basis, it is interesting to see the photos they share, more so than just reading a tweet or a short update about what they are doing, etc. There is not a doubt in my mind that Facebook’s photo sharing must be one of the most important features of the site, just look at all the posts about the photo sharing service from the Facebook blog.

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Photo sharing is important to people, they want to see photos of friends, family, pets, food and cool places, all the time, every time. Smart phones such as the iPhone, Android and Windows 7 phones have made it really easy for all of us to share moments from our day with just a few taps in our phones…think about it, how easy and really cool is that! Remember those days when after using our cameras we then needed to stop at a photo developing shop to finally be able to see our photos, and then share it with just a few friends since it was not simple (or cheap!) to share these photos… ah, those times prior to digital cameras, I do not miss them.

There are a few startups that have realized the importance of photo sharing, they have created apps that allow you to take beautiful photos using your mobile device and share them using popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of these startups have also a web app which I believe is genius since not everyone likes to be sharing or viewing photos in a tiny screen, at least not all the time.

Facebook has made many improvements to its photo sharing service and new players in this area such as Google+ also offer a very intuitive way to upload and share your photos in their sites. However, my favorite way of sharing photos is by taking the photos with my iPhone using one of the apps below and then just let the app share the photos I take in all the other social networks. A brilliant move from one of these startups (Pinterest) is that they not only have a mobile app, but they also have a web app which makes it easier to create boards from web pages that you “pin” using a browser plug-in that works like a charm! I have been using Pinterest just to share photos from my blogs and other web pages with images that I really like. It works.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find in your life. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes

While Pinterest is not officially a photo sharing app, it is not hard to imagine that most people is using this app as such, and according to a Mashable article, Pinterest is driving more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined…

Path is a new iPhone app that claims to be a smart journal that helps you share your life with the people you love. This is just another way of saying, our app let’s you share photos with family and friends, easy. This app reminds me of Gowalla, remember? perhaps Facebook has a plan about this since they bought Gowalla a few months ago…

With Path you can do much more than just sharing photos, you can also share your location (check-in), the music you are listening to and whom are you with between other things. In other words, Path is a better version of Gowalla and interestingly enough, it lacks a feature that Gowalla also didn’t have and it is a shame since it would make this application even more compelling to use, it lacks a web version of their app, that is right. Mobile apps are very popular these days, but an application that let’s you share your thoughts, music and photos should also have a web version for all of us that spend most of the day in front of our huge screens sitting at our desks. Mark Suster, an entrepreneur who has gone to the Dark Side of VC wrote an excellent post about this same topic, the importance for startups to not only build for mobile but also build for the web. Pinterest understands this and the traffic to their site reflects the importance of having a web version available, for the rest of us.

Path

Path is the smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love — your thoughts, the music you’re listening to, where you are, who you’re with, when you wake and when you sleep, and beautiful high quality photos and videos. And for those of you who like to share on public networks like Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Facebook

Path screenshot 1

And then there is my favorite as far as quick and simple photo editing/sharing app out there now, Instagram. It is very simple to use, you can create some really good-looking photos by applying one of the many filters Instagram has available and it is all free. It also has a simple way for you to share your photos not only in the Instagram network but also in Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. Instagram is the only app that advertises as a photo sharing application, and they are right because that is what their app does and it is really good at it. My only complain with Instagram is that it does not allow you to swipe through the photographs… perhaps they’ll add this in a coming release.

Instagram

15 million users love Instagram! It’s a free, fun, and simple way to make and share gorgeous photos on your iPhone.

Instagram screenshot

I am sure we’ll see improvements in all of these apps soon as the competition to be the leader app in the photo sharing arena increases every month. Don’t be surprised to see Facebook or Google buying one or more of these companies, photo sharing is what people do in most social media sites, and that behavior is just going to increase as photo sharing apps become easier to use and feature rich. What is your favorite photo sharing app?