Ray Ganong knows what an arduous task it is to be the designated keeper of the family photo archive in the modern digital world. Gigabytes of photos pour into our computers from digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, etc. and managing them can seem like an impossible feat.
“It’s very time consuming to pull together a list of photos every time a birthday or an anniversary comes around,” he says.
But Ganong keeps his head above the digital photo deluge by using Fotobounce, an application developed by Oakville, Ont.-based Applied Recognition Inc., where he has been President since 2006. He’s not the only one, as there are more than 160,000 users of the photo organizing and sharing software. Ganong got involved with Applied Recognition after founder and chairman Don Waugh showed him a prototype.
“Now my 84-year-old mother uses the Fotobounce Viewer to view our family photos stored on my home PC,” he says. The application offers “peer to peer photo sharing capability. For those concerned with sharing photos on public Web sites and social networks, this gives them an alternative to share with friends and family.”
One of the main competitive points of Fotobounce that Ganong hopes will help it compete against software giants like Google (which offers the freeware Picasa) and Adobe (which offers Carousel) is the appeal of increased privacy. Rather than sharing photos by uploading them to the Internet, where they reside on servers of a third party, users share them directly from their computer’s hard drive. Others can use the viewer app on Android or Windows to browse the shared collections.
“Those photos are coming from your desktop and delivered in real time, with encryption, to your device,” he says. “There’s no syncing required, there’s no background upload to the cloud. You’re in charge of your photos.”
Applied Recognition has also submitted an app to Apple for approval on iOS. It was developed with students and faculty at Sheridan College through a FedDev Ontario project.
The software was originally conceived of by Waugh after his own difficulties organizing family photos. After he met a University of Toronto facial recognition researcher at a conference, work started on a prototype of the photo organizer that would help users sort through pictures based on the people in them. Facial recognition is now one of the marquee features in Fotobounce, which helps speed up tagging of pictures.
Fotobounce can also quickly upload photos to Facebook and Flickr, and maintain the tag and caption information for those social networks. Users can also download photo albums from the social networks to their computer for local storage.
Fotobounce offers an ad-supported free version for download, or a $49 licence for an ad-free experience. But Ganong expects that will change to a $10 per year subscription charge in 2012. It also has partnerships with photo-related suppliers, such as a company that offers users the option to get their photos printed on a large canvas with a wooden frame. Fotobounce makes a cut on any of those sales, Ganong says.
The software will soon organize video files too, he says, with facial recognition tagging also supported there. The firm also plans to improve its peer to peer file sharing to be faster and easier.