The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: Pinweel is a free iPhone app that lets you snap photos, apply filters and share albums with a select group of friends.
Genius Idea: Group photo sharing is easy and private on this well-designed mobile interface.
Regular smartphone photos may be too muted or rectangular for these former Instagram addicts. Enter Pinweel.
Instagram users expressed their concern with Facebook’s purchase of their favorite photo app due to privacy concerns.
Pinweel’s co-founders Rich Bulman and James Tillinghast thought a lot about that very concern when designing this mobile app.
“We believed there was a better way to be able to quickly and easily share photos with groups of friends, and to share photos more privately than you can do on a photo network like Facebook,” Bulman told Mashable.
Pinweel is easy and speedy. On the in-app camera, there is a simple on-screen flash button, one that rotates the frame and 10 beautiful filters to apply, named by years. Filter “1931″ makes square black-and-white photos, while “1987″ outlines photos like a Polaroid. Our favorite is “1999,” which washes frames over with a sunny yellow, orange tinge.
After the picture is taken, you can push it on Facebook or Twitter. You can also share photos with friends and family by creating private and public albums.
Pinweel took more than a year to develop and is self-funded to date. The developers aimed to make a product that could provide a real-time photo sharing space with controls.
“We set out to build a better solution to photo sharing that would address those issues to make it faster, easier and make it more private when you want it it to be,” Bulman says.
Multiple photographers can add photos to Pinweel albums. Pictures load instantly, ridding the need to remind friends to share their photos.
“On the public side of things, users can create collaboratively. We see our users doing both of those things,” Tillinghast says.
One user in Malaysia has found a cool use for public albums.
“We have a user in Malaysia who is taking pictures of entrees at all restaurants in Kuala Lumpur,” Tillinghast says. “He has a whole set of albums with maps on how to get to the restaurant. He is obviously creating a catalog of images that anyone who visiting Kuala Lumpar can find the best restaurant.”
Pinweel will soon offer companies the chance to build brand channels where they can upload product photos and have customers upload pictures.
The app launched in mid-February and is currently available in the Apple App Store. The Android version will be available later this year.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Βethan
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.