Former Hulu Team Launches a Collective Photo Album Site
Hulu’s founding CTO, Eric Feng, and others from his early product team have started a company called Erly, and today they are opening up about their vision and releasing their first service: “Collections.”
Collections is a free Web site for building photo albums with your friends about a common experience you shared. A nifty interface helps users add and move photos, text, links and video. All this is displayed in a horizontally scrolling layout, like a magazine. It’s kind of like a virtual scrapbook, without all the stickers and doodads.
Hulu’s corporate future may be in trouble now but from its very first beta launch it seemed to be universally perceived as an impressive product. That’s why it will be interesting to watch what this team does — even if their first offering does seem like a scrapbook.
Collections is only a Web site, not a mobile or tablet app. Feng said that’s because it’s about content aggregation, not content creation. People already have ways to take and store their photos — in fact, they may have too many places to store photos, with various snapshots landing on different services and on different people’s accounts after they experience the same event or occasion.
That notion of an experience is actually the founding principle of Erly. Feng thinks there is potential to move away from the standard social networking friend graph and toward an “experience graph,” where the times we share are what connect us.
Kleiner Perkins-backed Erly will be a rapid product development shop, Feng said. Collections is just the first release, and as soon as it’s out the door the team will shift to the next thing.
Feng said he thinks of Collections as a way to remember the past. Next up for Erly is to keep moving down that dimension of time to a product for the present, and after that, the future. Feng hinted that calendars will play a prominent role in upcoming development.
Feng bragged, “We built the Hulu.com beta in 84 days, Erly Collections in 59 days, and are excited by what’s coming next.”