Last night, Zuckerberg liked Friendsheet on his Facebook profile. But he said nothing about Pixable, a Web service and app that wants to become your new photo inbox. That’s probably because Pixable has plans that extend beyond just Facebook.
“Pixable will be your mobile photo inbox,” says CEO Inaki Berenguer. “So people will check their Gmail accounts, then Facebook and then Pixable.” Essentially, Pixable wants to become Internet users’ photo inbox – a way to see the world “through your friends’ eyes.”
Pixable gave ReadWriteWeb an exclusive sneak peak at today’s new updates, which live for now on new.pixable.com. Pixable made some big changes to the Web version of the site layout, making it more grid-like. Previously, the experience felt closer to clicking on Facebook photo albums. Now users choose feeds from the dropdown menus of Everyone’s Photos, Friends Photos and Hashtags.
Pixable connects with users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, and grabs photos from Twitter followers and the Facebook social graph. Interestingly, only 2% of tweets contain media such as photos or videos – so really, Pixable benefits the most from Facebook photos and Instagram images, many of which appear on Facebook.
Photos are the future of communication,” says Berenguer, speaking as fast as any New Yorker normally would. “You don’t take photos for memories, but rather to communicate with your friends. People are in a restaurant eating a salad, they post it to Twitter. They go to a concert, and they post it to Facebook. It is not that they want to keep a memory for the rest of their life – they want to broadcast their life.”
Why Using Pixable as a Photo Inbox Makes More Sense
I decided to test drive the idea of Pixable as a mobile photo inbox. In doing so, I found myself most drawn to the sections “most recent photos,” “top of the day,” “top of the week” and “top of the month.” I had not seen all of these photos in the Facebook news feed, which I usually sort by “top stories” instead of “most recent.”
One interesting aspect of the Pixable photo stream: Even if you hide a user from the news feed, their photos will still show up in these categories. So, if you hide some friends from the news feed because you are not interested in seeing lots of images from them, using Pixable to see those same visually oriented friends’ images actually makes more sense. In that way, the Facebook news feed could be more useful as a text and article-based feed – and Pixable is where you get a Pinterest-esque layout of only images that you can choose to share out to Facebook or Twitter proper.
Unfortunately, if you decide to tweet an image, you will have to type in the Twitter users’ handle – Pixable only tells you that it’s “via @pixable.” Here’s an example of a tweet I tried to send out from artist @ellengreeneart.
“Eighty-five percent of daily users check top of the day,” Berenguer tells ReadWriteWeb. In the world of digitalized relationships, this makes sense.
Pixable discovers a user’s top photos of the day by determining the number of likes, comments and tags each photo has. So, the more sharing/liking/commenting each photo has, the more relevant it should be to you. As such, Pixable ends up being more about pre-existing signals than happenstance discovery of old friends or lost ties who a user might still be connected to on Facebook or Twitter. Pixable responds to your current digital identity.
Pixable, like any other Internet tool, does not know the intricacies of that particular relationship – it only knows what data a user provides it online. Your online identity is based on what you share. In other words, you are what you share online.
Another Useful Section: My Likes and Comments
Far too often, I hear people say that they jump on Facebook, comment and like a bunch of stuff, and then leave – yet later in the day, they do not remember what they even did on Facebook. There is so much content on this black hole of a social network that sometimes it is hard to remember what actually happened. Kind of like the digital version of a blackout. Pixable organizes all the photos that a user likes and comments on on Facebook under the “My Likes & Comments” section. This is a useful and passive way to quietly gather a visual repository of inspiring images, or just an easier way to keep track of what actually happened during that Facebook spree.
Pixable integrates Twitter photos from eight different repositories, including TwitPic, YFrog, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo. Depending on how visually oriented your social circle happens to be, they may not be as prevalent in the Pixable photo stream.
“That is why our application is so addictive,” proclaims Berenguer. “You have a need to consume photos because they are photos from the people you care about.”
That is, if you tell Facebook and Twitter who those people are.