Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Cooliris recently announced a big shift in its strategy, launching a photo-sharing application called LiveShare. Now co-founder and chief executive Soujanya Bhumkar wants to make it clear that there are some big improvements on LiveShare’s roadmap.
Until now, the main features distinguishing LiveShare from the hordes of other photo-sharing apps were its slick design (most photo apps look good, but LiveShare took its cues from Cooliris’ previous product, a 3D wall for browsing photos, videos, and other media) and the way it allowed users to invite a different set of friends to view and contribute to each album.
LiveShare will do more to stand out with the new version of the app, which Bhumkar demonstrated for me earlier this week. He put a big emphasis on speed — when users upload photos to LiveShare, their friends should be able to see them instantly. You can see the app in action in the demo video at the end of this post. And, yes, when Bhumkar demonstrated LiveShare earlier this week, it worked as quickly as it does in the video.
But why is it important to be “really, really real-time” rather than “almost real-time” (as Bhumkar put it)? Is it a big deal if shared photos take 10 or 30 or 60 seconds before they appear to your friends? In an email, Bhumkar argued:
If you want to share a moment or info with those close to you, you absolutely want to share it as it happens so they experience it: waiting for a photo to upload or a video to compress kills spontaneity and creates a time-lapse experience that’s as frustrating as bad lip-syncing from a lazy bollywood singer.
That makes sense to me, especially when I think of the times I’ve tried to use well-funded photo-app Color in a group and become frustrated when a photo takes more than a few seconds to appear. And Bhumkar isn’t alone in this belief — I can’t say too much yet, but there will be at least one other app launching soon with similar real-time media-sharing aspirations.
Besides the speed, the app also shows off LiveShare’s plans beyond photo-sharing. It features link- and video-sharing at a similar speed. The videos are limited to 15 seconds each and can be watched within the app. Tapping on a link opens a mini-browser within LiveShare where you can peruse the article or Web page in question.
There’s no release date for the new version of the app yet. Bhumkar said that even though the new features were built on the iPad, he eventually plans to add them across LiveShare’s platforms, including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and the Web.