Americans are uploading photos by the hundreds of thousands. In fact, according to Yahoo, it’s something like 880 billion! Says Business Insider, “That's 123 photos for every man, woman and child on Earth.” Every minute, 27,800 photos are uploaded to Instagram. And Facebook sees over six billion photos per month. The numbers are staggering.
What does this mean? That, for many of us, photos are now spread out everywhere – stored on devices and the cloud, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox. And the more photos we take, the harder it gets to keep track. This problem will only be compounded by video – as we shoot more footage, we will store them wherever it’s convenient at that moment.
While it’s true that photography has become more accessible than ever — with expensive camera equipment and film development no longer needed — devices themselves can cost hundreds of dollars. The best are often reserved for the wealthiest. Today’s phones equipped with better camera technology can cost up to $799 like the Apple iPhone 5S, or the Samsung Galaxy 5. The smartphone market is the fastest-growing personal computing platform ever. According to Digitimes Research (January 2014), this year alone there will be over 1.2 billion smartphones shipped worldwide, six times more than in 2010. And data package plans require even further investment. These affluent users are juggling multiple channels and devices to store their photos, and, often, they’re doing it on the go.
Those struggling the most are they who lead lives that afford the most leisure time – and opportunities to take photos. For example, the problem of keeping track of travel photos is intensified by the number of trips the affluent take each year — and the dizzying number of photos they take. The World Bank says over 736.5 million people flew somewhere in 2012 as compared to 730.7 the year before! Clearly, we’re trekking to more and more places each year. And, for tourists who are well off, the places are more exotic, the trips are longer, the pictures even more plentiful and the opportunities for saving more confusing.
All of us are looking for a solution. And they have the means to pay for it. Says Danny Sullivan on CNET, “I want one place where all my pictures are kept secure and organized. And I want the photos to be easily viewable on a variety of devices, whenever I want to see them. And if I want to tag the shots, adjust dates, geolocate them, and so on, I want to be sure all those photos will retain that information if I move elsewhere."
Gus Lubin of Business Insider writes about his frustration with photo services, and how unsatisfying they are. “Cloud storage,” he says, “offers the promise of indestructible storage, but so far no program makes it sufficiently easy to sort, organize, update, or keep photos private.” Among Flickr, Shutterfly, Google+ and others, nothing does the trick.
We all want to preserve our memories from around the world or down the block, from family shots to selfies. Retrieving a photo and accessing it should be just as easy as taking the picture to begin with.
A few startups are tackling this challenge, which promises big rewards. Among the most interesting solutions are photo aggregators for mobile platforms that not only gather photos from your mobile and tablet, your PC as well as your cloud and social media, but can also gather what your router can find on the USB drives attached to it or even what’s available on your home network like DLNA content. Soon all your pics will be taken care of and ready to play and share anywhere, anytime!