Flickr to better identify each picture’s source camera

flickr icons

Photo sharing site Flickr will add a new display icon to each image: a drawing of the camera that took the picture.

Yahoo’s service will use minimalist line drawings of the camera models, taken from the EXIF data, reports Mashable. Flickr has completed drawings of 40 top cameras are complete, from SLRs to iPhones.

The site has long provided the capturing camera information, but as text revealed with a click, not automatically alongside the pictures themselves.

“Dreamlike” 3D in new Photosynth


microsoft photosynth

It’s been quite a few years since I was first wowed by Microsoft’s demonstration of Photosynth — and the company keeps improving its tool for making 3D experiences directly from photos.

The Photosynth team posted “a major update” on Tuesday, and says its new synthesized locations and flyovers “are as smooth as a Steadicam video, but they’re ultra-resolution and completely interactive.”

For example, a high-altitude “flight” to Mount Everest takes one minute to play, and “every frame contains a whopping 60 megapixels,” the developers say. It was shot from a high-altitude helicopter with an array of full-frame cameras. “You can stop anywhere and zoom in on every last pixel.”

If you can’t fly a chopper, you can walk around a big rock on the beach taking still shots — and Photosynth will create a photorealistic 3D model from them, as also demonstrated on the site. How are they made? “40 photos were uploaded to our servers on Microsoft Azure,” the developers note. “The Photosynth pipeline analyzed the photos for overlap, and created a point cloud of the stable features. Each photo was then fitted to this point cloud, and a location was estimated for the camera in every photo. Finally, a smooth path through or near each of these locations was calculated, and the result was stored on for viewing. You view the synth using WebGL, which is supported by Internet Explorer 11 and all the other leading browsers.”

The first preview results are here.

Photosynth lets you “capture amazing places and objects, share them with friends, and embed them in blogs and websites,” the team adds.


Make your own photo gallery — on Google

google gallery

Getting your pictures posted on the precious wall space in a traditional gallery can be tough. Soon it will be simple to start your own space — online.

Google is launching an Internet art gallery on which emerging artists can display their work to a larger audience.

There are of course plenty of online image sharing and viewing sites, some free for basic features, some paid and allowing storage and print sales, among other functions. Why turn to Google? For widespread exposure, perhaps.

The Open Gallery will be part of the larger Cultural Institute, which connects to famous museums worldwide. It will let museums, galleries, and individuals create a virtual exhibition for artworks of all kinds.

“We’ve built the technology so you can focus on your content,” the company says. “Powerful free tools for artists, museums, archives and galleries. Easily upload your content. Create collections, exhibitions or tours. Publish a new site or enhance your existing one.”

You can request an invite here.

Google Europe has more on the new project here.


Facebook shares photo albums


facebook shared albums

Shared photo albums aren’t exactly new on the Web — quite a few online services and apps have offered them — but they are new to the leading social service. Facebook launched its shared albums last week.

A shared album is an album that multiple people can upload photos to, the company says. “When you make an album shared, you can add your friends as contributors. This allows them to add, view and edit photos in the album. You can choose who can see the shared albums you create. If you’re a contributor, you can add photos but you won’t be able to adjust the privacy of the album.”

The album initiator can add 50 contributors, each of whom can post 200 pictures to the album.

The new feature will roll out gradually across Facebook’s user base.

Shutterfly acquires photo printer R&R Images


r and r images

While most of us were relaxing in the last days of summer, online photo service Shutterfly showed no sign of slowing down and acquired yet another company.

This time it was no young start-up: boutique printer R&R Images launched in 1986. The privately-held Phoenix, Arizona-based business’ “product innovation and expertise in premium, flexible printing will enhance Shutterfly’s enterprise and consumer product innovation, design and printing capabilities,” the company says. “As Shutterfly continues to grow, we are making additional strategic investments in our manufacturing footprint focused on providing our customers with innovative, high quality personalized products while efficiently scaling and managing our costs.”


Triggertrap displays Timelapse videos



Looking for more cool timelapse videos? Look no further than Primelapse, a new curated sharing site solely dedicated to accelerated imagery.

Put together by Triggertrap, the makers of creative camera triggering solutions, the site offers “inspiration, how-to-tips and community support for anyone looking to try out the technique, or seasoned vets looking for some eye candy,” the Bristol, UK-based company says.

There are already more than 1,300 videos on the site, and they come from more than 125 countries.


$1B: Yahoo acquires Tumblr, updates Flickr

But no, it didn’t buy the missing “E” in each site’s name.

Online media company Yahoo! paid approximately $1.1 billion to acquire the popular photo sharing and blogging site Tumblr — and CEO Marissa Mayer says they “promise not to screw it up.”

Tumblr will continue independently, Yahoo adds. David Karp, who founded the site in 2007, will stay on as CEO. “The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve,” Yahoo says.

When you already own dozens of sites and brands, why buy another? Tumblr hosts 105 million different blogs, with 900 posts per second, Yahoo says, and its more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day make it “one of the fastest-growing media networks in the world.” And Yahoo plans to accelerate that growth: “The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo’s audience by 50 percent to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20 percent.”

yahoo flickr

But lets not forget Yahoo already owns another image-centric site, one it bought only a few years ago. Flickr was once the favored online photo sharing site, but has faced criticism since the $35 million acquisition in 2005.

Not its getting a revamp with higher resolution images, more free storage, and an improved Android app.

First, Flickr says it’s now the only site to provide each person a full terabyte of free storage — enough for more than a half-million photos. [Flickr now stores 8 billion photos.]

Second, it’s easier to share shots with other services.

Third, the site sports a revamped appearance with full-screen shots and streamlined functionality.

And finally: the recently iOS app improved uploads 25 percent, the company says, and it hopes to duplicate that success with the new Android version.


Put pictures on Pinterest for your business


pinterest for business

I confess I’ve added to my own Pinterest page maybe a dozen times in a year — but a new books claims you can boost your business by strategically using the site.

According to “Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business” by Karen Leland, the social bookmarking site that allows users to create a visual, online pinboard with images around topics of their choice is the fastest growing social media site in history, and now the third-largest network after Facebook and Twitter. It has more than 25 million members and 10 million unique visitors a month — and it can be “a valuable source of prospects, promotion and profits.”

“Great business brands are about telling compelling, congruent stories, and Pinterest is at its core about storytelling in pictures,” Leland says. “Pinterest has tapped into this visceral lover of visuals, and no small business, entrepreneur or corporation can afford to miss the boat on bringing what they offer beyond words and into images.”

Among her top tips for using Pinterest:

1. Strategize First and Pin Second: Consider your objectives before you pin. Depending on your strategy, you will want to pick the images that best support your objective.

2. Manage and Balance Your Percentages: Create inviting boards by making 40 percent of your pins motivational and inspiring, 40 percent instructional and educational, and only 20 percent about your brand.

3. Make Your Website Pin Friendly: Install the Pin It Button on your website and give every page and blog post a featured image that can be pinned automatically.

4. Share With, Engage and Promote Others: Build your brand by engaging with others through re-pinning, commenting on and liking other pins.

5. Establish Your Expertise: Craft keyword-rich pin and board titles and descriptions to boost your Google ranking and be found for your expertise.

The $22 book is available here.

Google adds 3D imagery to Earth v7


The virtual world viewing app from Google now provides new ways to see cities in 3D and a new tour guide feature, the company says. The features debuted in the mobile app, but now “you can get both of those features on a bigger screen” which “makes it even easier to explore.” Google Earth 7 for desktop PCs has comprehensive and accurate tours of more than 11,000 popular sites around the world, Google adds.

The new software includes comprehensive, accurate 3D imagery for Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Lawrence, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, Rome and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay), as well as “a handful of metropolitan regions” including Avignon, France; Austin, Texas; Munich, Germany; Phoenix, Arizona; and Mannheim, Germany.

The experience of flying through these areas and seeing the buildings, terrain and even the trees rendered in 3D makes “all of your virtual travels more realistic than ever,” the company says.

The tour guide feature serves as a local expert, suggesting nearby places you might want to explore. Simply click, “and you’ll embark on a virtual flyover of famous, historical and cultural sites close by.”

SingTel acquires social photo aggregation service Pixable

The increasing penetration of smart devices and rise of social networks have led to an explosive growth of web photos, with the average person now having access to hundreds of thousands of photos in their network, SingTel says. “For many, it is an ongoing struggle to keep up so they do not miss the important photos and moments in the lives of their family and friends.”

Singapore Telecommunications Limited will pay $26.5 million to acquire Pixable, a startup making a smartphone app that prioritizes photos on social networks.

Founded in 2009, Pixable’s predictive analytics and artificial intelligence analyze users’ interactions and consumption habits to prioritize photos from close friends and family, the companies say. More than 4 million users have installed Pixable’s “mobile photo inbox” service via the web, iOS devices and Android devices.

“Pixable’s expertise and customer engagement give us a foundation to go beyond viewing photos to using photos as a way to stimulate simple immersive communication,” SingTel says. “We will be able to provide a distinctive value-added service to all mobile customers, allowing them to discover and store content, images and their communication history – essentially what matters most from those that are really important to them.”

SingTel plans to introduce the services to its 462 million mobile customers in Asia and Africa.

Our podcast interview Inaki Berenguer, CEO of Pixable, is here.