Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Cooliris Cleverly Makes Photo Sharing Instantaneous (Video)

Cooliris, which for the last five years has built all sorts of neat online and mobile media tools, has lately been working on some rather nifty technology to make photo-sharing much more instantaneous.

I visited the company yesterday and got a preview of an upcoming version of their LiveShare app, and was blown away by how quick it was. So I pulled out my own camera (well, iPhone) to try to share it with you by taking a video.

Cooliris co-founder and CTO Austin Shoemaker demoed photos zipping between iPads and an iPhone using the new app. It seemed that the moment he pressed the shutter on one device the resulting photo would appear on the other.

Shoemaker explained that Cooliris has used data binding techniques to synchronize media between devices.

“Instead of periodically polling the backend for changes, the query is actually parked on the server, so when changes are made to the database they flow through the query plan and into the apps,” he said.

Plus, to make things appear super speedy, LiveShare will push over a low-res version of a photo first, then backfill and cross-fade into the full resolution version.

(Also, in the demo shown in the video, Shoemaker was using Cooliris’ corporate Wi-Fi network; mobile network latency will often slow things down.)

Shoemaker argued that these little tweaks of speed can have a significant impacts, because when people can share pictures in real time they can also discuss them and interact with them instantly.

It’s true that Google — with its search engine, Chrome browser and most recently Google+ social network — has shown that speed can be a huge competitive advantage.

The rebuilt LiveShare will be an iPhone, iPad and Web app, with other platforms to be added, and Cooliris also plans to release an API. The apps will also enable near-instant video-sharing as well as link-sharing, statuses and comment threads, Cooliris said.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work