Mar 24 2011

Ok Color. How about solving the more basic (and important) problem with photos?


Ever hear of this start-up called Color? They launched a social photo sharing thing yesterday. And raised $41M.

Oh wait. Everyone has heard of Color by now (and has an opinion about it; re: their capital raise, I’d refer you to a recent post on that subject)

What I want to talk here isn’t the Color business, the financing or how much it paid for It seems to me that this most basic problem with photos hasn’t come close to being solved yet. And while I don’t have a strong opinion around what Color is doing (although with age, I fear that I’m finding that many of these types of apps don’t much appeal to me personally) the hype around it did make me wonder why no one has yet figured out an answer to this much larger and more interesting problem:

Why hasn’t anyone solved the most basic photo problem of all – the ingestion, compilation, backup and sharing of digital media?

Everyone I know has the same basic problem with photos: They’re everywhere. On your phone. Synced with one of 5 different computers. Sitting on one of 3 different external hard drives. On any number of flash drives. On a half a dozen cloud services. Still in the cameras themselves waiting to be downloaded to one of the aforementioned places. And almost without exception never fully and truly backed up anywhere.

I envision this service would be pretty basic. I could indicate what machines were “mine” and set rules for what I wanted it to do with any and all photos. I could connect up any device to any of these machines and it would automatically pull photos from them, and sync them across my personal photo network. I could set up rules for how I wanted photos from different devices treated (for example to set up separate places to send pictures from the kids cameras, but have the two cameras my wife and I use merged; or send video to a certain place and pictures somewhere else. Maybe there’d be cloud storage involved. Ideally I could use my PogoPlug to create my own cloud for these digital assets. Obviously there would be backup involved (mirroring PogoPlugs would be easy; cloud back-up easy as well). The service would give me the option to access my photos on my mobile phone (and a great interface to do so – something fitting such a visual media) and enable me to specify a small number of pictures I wanted cached locally on the phone and grab everything else off the phone so I didn’t have thousands of photos clogging up my camera roll.

We’ve invested in a few companies who have some great technology that could be put against this problem (specifically Cloud Engines which is how I manage my photos and back-up now and Memeo which can recognize different kinds of digital assets and route them to various places for you) but what I’m talking about is a layer above this – the control tower for all this.

And I’d bet it wouldn’t cost $41M to build…