A few months ago I bought an external 3TB hard disk for our home computer, mostly for my wife’s 53,000 photos. Turns out that if I had just waited, I could have simply uploaded them all to MyShoeBox.
“We offer unified photo storage across all your devices, for free, at 1,024-pixel quality,” founder Steve Cosman told me a few weeks ago in Toronto. “Or you can pay $5/month for unlimited resolution.”
Tomorrow MyShoeBox is launching version two of its photo backup and sharing service, with a new iPad app, updated mobile apps, and a new shared galleries feature that you use to build grouped sets of photos with people you went on vacation with or family members who shared an event such as a wedding.
The freemium model has helped the company get a quick start.
Above: Search and self-quantification
Image Credit: MyShoeBox
After exiting from Toronto accelerator Extreme Startups in the fall, the service saw 13.4 million photos uploaded in November, its first month. And, Cosman says, MyShoeBox users upload far more photos than Facebook or Flickr users — 3,200 each, compared to Facebook’s 220 and Flickr’s 320.
But the value proposition is much more than photo backup.
Instead, MyShoeBox is a way to enjoy all of your photos, all of the time, on any device you have. Frankly, for most people, their photos are strewn around their main computer (photos from their actual, official, camera), their phone (snapshots from their built-in camera), and their social networks (uploaded from wherever you happened to be at the time). There’s no unified view, no way to see — and search — all your photos at once.
Using MyShoeBox for the first time syncs your photos up to the cloud-based service automatically, in the background, and installing the services’ mobile apps on your Android or iOS-based phone will do the same.
That’s helpful, because we often want to see more of our photos on our mobile devices.
“Our new iPad app is an incredible way of browsing your entire photo collection,” Cosman says. “And it’s one of the only ways you can get your full photo collection on your iPad … most people don’t have enough space.”
What most interested me when I chatted to Cosman is MyShoeBox’ solution to a problem that I think I share with many other digital photographers: enjoying your own work and finding photos. A former program manager for Microsoft’s augmented reality team for Windows Phone, Cosman has placed special emphasis on automated sorting, tagging, and exploring features.
“So many people that have given up the concept of a photo collection,” he says. “Faces, places, and things are important ways to automatically categorize photos. And they keep getting smarter every day.”
So MyShoeBox highlights places you’ve been, photos you took last year at this time, events, cameras you used, and more, creating what the company calls “an interactive infographic” of your life. That includes personal quantification data like the top times you take photos, and your most photographed neighborhoods.
And if you want to search your photo collection, MyShoeBox has just rewritten its search features to be much faster and more powerful as its power users often have more than 15,000 photos each.
“iOS, Android, Windows, Mac … it works pretty much anywhere,” Cosman says. “And once together, it’s automatically organized.”
MyShoeBox is based in Toronto, Canada, and is currently raising a financing round. Its new iPad, iPhone, and Android apps will be live in Google Play and the app store tomorrow.
Image credits: MyShoeBox
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