24. September 2016

My Dream Picture Albums

By Fritz Jörn, Fritz@Joern.com

I like to take pictures. 
   I store them chronologically on my PC, in monthly folders like “201609” for this month 09 of 2016.  The folders sort nicely.
   I give (rename) all photo and video files with a meaningful names, like TriptoTown (1), … (2) etc., avoiding spaces. This I do when they first enter my PC from the SD card of the camera.You might consider word separators for easier searching like dashes - or underlines _.
   I back them up nightly with my simple backup.
   But when I want to see them, to show them – for this I found no good way to “cloud” them and have them directly available, I found no album storage. Most picture storage systems are specialized to themes, to user types, or just store snapshots on top of each other – what I call shoebox storage. Google does that. (With youtube videos you can at least make a playlist.)

Until Summer 2016 I had used Picasa Web Albums. That was ok, but the “player” slowly deteriorated under the hands of Google, and was eventually obsolteted. More at http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2016/08/seeing-picasa-web-albums-after-all.html. So I must “move on” … And many, many others too.

My Dream Picture Album – or
How I’d like to Store Photos in the Cloud

• In the cloud, but in Germany, or at least in Europe.
• Without giving away my copyright. No copyright transfer away fom the originator. The storage supplier should just have the right to display the pictures in the viewer(s), as permitted by the originator.
• Finalizing an album, like sequencing the pictures, naming pictures, adding titles and a title picture, including the geographic location of the view and or of the viewer (photographer), adding individual or routine captions (e.g. “Venice”, ©Name, date) – all that should be easy.
• With different levels of access permissions:
   · Private (only for me with logon)
   · Restricted to those who know an album’s URL
   · Restricted to named viewers (by their e-mail and a password)
   · Public, everyboldy. Google should crawl them.
• Pictures should be be protectable picture by picture, so that “illegal” pictures can be stored, but never be dispayes unless by you (or a group). So you could show the general atmosphere at a party, but avoid singular portraits which might otherwise be displayed only with specific permission. The responsability of hiding pictures would be with the owner, so he or she must be able to differentiate the permissions.
• You should be able to restrict (easy) downloads.
• An album should have a readable name, that appears in the URL as well, same for a picture within an album, not like Google’s  https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM-5IncbxkPeO5W8FTLvo1hfj_G1FvnKj9Iotoo_ov0I_QUKnwRwvLJhQSTOms6mQ/photo/AF1QipPJ5JEeOMmiE8Lh6GoKgO0QTo5Cx5FIC59QuZXz?key=ckhzYUhHeDByNERpRmxGSlFpaks5VmRSQ1d4N3h3
(shortened for you by myself to http://bit.ly/2cMOkOn for convenience.)
• An album should have a “best of” path, possibly even a multitude of views: five best, best of, only persons, only landscape, etc., as arranged by the user by (invisibly) marking photos as member number n of a given view. This might become a unique selling proposition (USP) for the album maker.
“Cross” albums might present the same pictures of other albums in different circumstances, e.g. museum pictures, churches, screenshots, what have you. The user should just select the picture, and the system knows if it has it stored already somewhere.
Views for smartphones (captions on demand inside the picture as with Whatsapp, swipe commands only, a few click points within the picture like download picture(s) or album). Details on demand.
• A sepatare view for the PC, with captions under and outside the photo. (Google killed Picasa Web Albums, because they could not make a decent universal viewer for both smartphones and tablets and the PC as well, I guess. To have a keyboard and a stable screen makes a difference, both in use and in view time per picture.
• Automatic sequencing, and that’s a “slideshow”.
• Pictures should be stored and dispayed in a reasonable (depending on device) pixel size. On demand you might offer the full pixel size.
• Possibilty to generate a paper album (layout).
• While videos should reside at Youtube, they ought to be bound in seamlessly into an archive. Youtube is comfortable to use. (Would they block access? I don’t think so, as they allow embedding.)
Uploading pictures should be done from the smartphone, from a PC, etc., and might require apps. 
   Personally I’d like an inteface to the old local Picasa picture handling software.
• A picture “pull” service from cloud to cloud might later prove handy, like pull (or send) from Whatsapp etc.
• Viewer feedback might lead the project into a “community”, but connecting it with an existing community like Whatsapp might be preferable. 
•  Individual wishes and comments should be addressable to the picture owner.
• I’d like a feature, where you could improve a picture (like straighten it or increase contrast) and upload it to a certain album, and the album would decide if it’s a replacement picture or a new one. Picasa had that, Google photos I think as well.
Search features are important, and might be the second USP. You must be able to find pictures by caption, by date, even by (nearby) location, if they were geotagged. By number of persons, perhaps, by outside or inside, night or day, color or black and white. 
• A online picture selling market might be offered to premium members.
Price. Who’d pay? The project should have
• a free test start, like five albums and 500 pictures maximum
• a standard yearly fee for pictures (reduced to a practical size)
• a (rather high priced) premium level where photo freaks can archive their megabytepictures, even in raw format.

The devolopment of the many features might be a perfectionizing process, after a base set release. What’s basic should be a matter of prior planning.


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