Business

DEMO: Pixable brings its personalized photo experience to the iPad

Pixable is one of 53 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.

New York startup Pixable released its Photofeed Facebook application earlier this year, offering users a new way to explore their friends’ photos. Now the company is bringing that experience to the iPad.

It seems like we’re in the middle of an explosion of mobile photo apps, including Instagram and Picplz, but they focus on helping users share photos. Photofeed is something different — a way to explore photos that have already been shared on Facebook. After all, you probably have access to thousands of photos through your Facebook friends and have only looked at a fraction of them.

As the name suggests, Photofeed creates a feed of photos that’s customized to your taste and connections. The company compares its WonderRank technology for photos to the movie recommendations found in Netflix or the personalized playlists in Pandora.

Photofeed prioritizes photos based on factors that are personal (whether they come from friends who are important to you, what kind of photos you’ve liked in the past) and impersonal (the number of comments and likes). The app can look at your Facebook activity to see which friends are important to you, but it also asks you to rank your friends because, as Pixable co-founder Andres Blank put it, “The truth is, there are a lot of people that you care about a lot that you don’t have interactions with on Facebook.”

The concept is the same whether you’re using Photofeed on your computer or your iPad, but judging from the demo that Blank gave me, the company has definitely created a slick experience for Apple’s device. You swipe left and right to move through your feed, then if you want to see more images from a specific album, you just swipe down.

Pixable is working on an iPhone app too, Blank said. And it’s looking to go beyond Facebook, bringing in photos from other social networking services. Again, the approach is basically the opposite of other apps — instead of uploading your photos into Instagram and sharing them on other sites, you don’t upload anything into Photofeed, and you’ll be able to view photos even though they’re hosted on many other sites.

Pixable has raised $3 million from Highland Capital Partners and various angel investors.


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