Thanks to increases in smartphone adoption and social media usage, it’s a no brainer that consumer interest in photography has also skyrocketed. According to National Geographic, 37-percent of photos taken in the U.S. in 2011 were with camera phones, and that percentage is expected to increase to 50 by 2015. NatGeo also found that Facebook housed 140 billion photos in 2011, which was 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress’ collections. But as the storage capacities in our phones and digital cameras continue to expand, one inherent problem remains: Our computers, external hard drives, and cloud-based services like Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and Carbonite are mainly dumping grounds for our pixel overloads.
That’s where Everpix comes in. Part cloud storage, part curator, Everpix uses its Image Analysis tech to automatically organize your photos into appropriate collections. The young company is only 18 months old and has kept a low profile (investors include Bertrand Serlet, former VP of Apple, and Picasa co-founder Michael Herf), but today they have stepped up their presence and announced a free service tier, as well as a new “Explore” feature that sorts collections into themed categories (food, people, cities, nature, and animals).
Existing photo management software simply display your images in a contact sheet format and can only sort photos based on a few criteria like time and date; some can sort by detecting faces and location (using geotag location info). Otherwise, unless you actively label your photos and categorize them into groups, it’s easy for your photos to get “lost” or forgotten. “Photo management has been the same for the past 10 years,” Kevin Quennesson, CTO and co-founder of Everpix, told us. “There’s a disconnect between the way software represents photos and how people want to remember them,” and the goal of Everpix is “to close the gap.”
With proprietary algorithms, Everpix scans not just your images’ metadata, but it also uses semantic analysis to make out the content within those photos, whether it’s people, cars, buildings, sunsets, etc. It then organizes them into collections that Everpix calls “moments,” and each moment is represented by a “highlight” photo that best represents that collection. The idea here is that the highlight photo would jog your memory of that moment, making it easy to sort through or find a photo you need based on memory, instead of displaying all the photos associated with that moment. (It will also automatically determine duplicate images and eliminate them.) From the Everpix user interface, you can share your photos via e-mail or posting onto Facebook and Twitter. With the new Explore feature, Everpix can analyze a photo for objects and subjects that match the various themed categories, which will increase in time. The analysis is not perfect, and will wrongly categorize a photo from time to time; users can send a feedback to the system, which helps “teach” it to become smarter in its analytics.
Quennesson said that Everpix is not designed to replace your existing method for photo management, but instead work alongside it. It syncs with iPhoto, Picasa, Aperture, and Lightroom; Macs and PCs; digital cameras and iOS Camera Roll; and social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, and imports them to your Everpix account. It doesn’t matter how big the file sizes are, and their “super optimized pipeline” for uploading photos is five-times faster than anyone else’s, Quennesson said. There’s no capacity limit: “The big friction in the current model of online storage is that people have to choose which memory to preserve.” Quennesson also pointed out that the service respects users’ privacy, and that when a photo is deleted it’s completely gone.
The new “freemium” service gives you a year of unlimited photo storage; photos taken from the past 12 months will remain in the cloud when your term ends. After that, a premium service is available for $50 a year. The uploader tool is available for Mac and PC, and there’s an app for iOS, as well.