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Microsoft’s Xim photo sharing app means never passing your phone around the table again

Microsoft Research has released a new app called Xim, and it’s an interesting take on photo sharing. We know what you’re thinking, is there really any need for yet another way to show people our pics? Well, it turns out this one does do something a little different, and could be worth investigating.

Xim is a continuation of Microsoft’s growing obsession with the cloud. Upon installation, you give Xim access to where your photos are stored, and it can be anywhere from Microsoft’s own OneDrive, to your camera roll, or even Instagram. You’re then free to select which photos to share with Xim. So far, so familiar. The change comes when you share these pictures with other people.

After choosing people from your contacts list, by email, or by a phone number, each person receives an SMS with a link guiding them to your Xim collection. Interestingly, the photos are viewed together, and each person has a degree of control, so they can swipe to the next or zoom in on details. Because it’s online, only the host needs the Xim app installed. If you do have the app, you can add photos to existing shared Xim folders, and send quick, easy messages to each other.

In a nod to apps such as Snapchat, Xim folders have a limited shelf life, and will expire after a set amount of time. You’re also limited to only 50 photos per Xim. The collaborative, but time-limited system is appealing, particularly for those situations where passing a phone around for friends to see your pictures isn’t really ideal.

It’s also refreshing to find Xim has been given a wide release. It’s out already not only in the Windows Phone Store, but through Google Play and shortly, the Apple App Store too. Xim’s release comes soon after Microsoft Research’s WindUp app appeared inside the Windows Phone Store. Compared (wrongly, according to Microsoft) to Snapchat at the time, it was apparently part of an ongoing project looking at, “how people create, share and converse about content online.” If Xim is part of this research, then we’ll look forward to seeing what’s next too.