Photobucket launches Snapbucket app to keep pace with more nimble rivals

Photo and video sharing service Photobucket launched a new feature today called Snapbucket, which will allow users to “snap” photos from their mobile device, personalize the photo through effects, vignettes and frames, and then share them instantly with their social network.

Snapbucket will also let users create their own distinct sets of filter combinations and both the original and personalized photos will then be automatically stored online in the user’s Photobucket account.

It is available across all mobile platforms and for all smartphone and tablet devices.

Photobucket is a photo sharing and news-hosting site owned by Seattle mobile imaging startup Ontela, which bought it from News Corp in 2010. It offers its 100 million customers (including 20 million mobile users) permanent image hosting, a suite of web and mobile products, and a mobile auto-upload app.

Still, despite its size, the Denver, Colo.-based company has struggled to keep pace with other photo sharing darlings such as Instagram, Path and Picplz, all of which have been growing at rapid rates and adding new features almost weekly.

Photobucket CEO Tom Munro said Snapbucket will be the first of many upcoming additions to its mobile platform.

“Our users told us what they wanted: a fast, easy, and fun way to express themselves creatively on mobile,” Munro told VentureBeat. “They asked for a broader array of self-expression, preservation of the original photo and access to both the original and the personalized photo at Photobucket.”

Munro said that Snapbucket was created in three months and will complement the company’s new Photobucket Mobile App.

“These are just two of many upcoming product releases for Photobucket that will take advantage of the spontaneity of mobile and the permanence of the web,” said Munro.

The new features will be designed to help with Photobucket’s massive growth in the mobile upload space; the company said that mobile uploads through its Photobucket Mobile App increased more than 600 percent over the last year.

As such, users have been uploading more than 20 million photos and videos to Photobucket.com every month — prompting the company to announce  it will now offer free, unlimited photo storage for all users. It has also expanded video storage  of 500 videos up to 10 minutes in length.

The company also announced the hiring of three tech veterans to its executive ranks last week: Webroot Software’s Kate Hare, who now becomes Photobucket’s vice president of products; former CBS Interactive, Yahoo! and Dell Inc. exec David Toner, to become vice president of marketing; and former AOL ad honcho Allison Zweig, to helm the vice president of global branded sales spot.

Correction: This post was inadvertently published before the time outlined in an agreement between VentureBeat and our source. We regret the error.

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