Instagram’s user base just surpassed 300 million, but it’s not surprising given that social networks are where most of us share our photos. With that in mind, Polaroid is jumping into game with the launch of Polaroid Blipfoto. But unlike Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, etc., Blipfoto’s “online journal” lets you upload only one photo a day. The idea isn’t about sharing ridiculous amounts of selfies and food porn, but to document the one memorable event from your day.
A study found that we are posting about 1.8 billion new images each day, thanks to the proliferation of smartphone cameras, and that number is only going to get higher. Unfortunately, most of those photos are noise, since we’re just snapping at anything we see. Blipfoto is about editing; it brings us back to film photography or early days of digital, when we had limited storage capacity. It’s telling you to stop for a moment, go through your day’s photos, and pick out the one that you’ll want to remember in the future.
Blipfoto itself isn’t new, and it’s already being used around the world. Founder Joe Tree started the idea as a personal journal where he would upload one photo a day and write a small caption. That spawned into a service that has seen 5 million images uploaded from 170-plus countries – a small fraction compared to Instagram, but it’s popular particularly in Europe. Tree met Polaroid CEO Scott Hardy at a conference in 2013, and started the conversation for a partnership that would help bring Blipfoto into its next phase.
“[Polaroid and Blipfoto] were both trying to achieve quite similar things and there was a lot of parallels in what we both stood for,” Tree says in a video to Blipfoto users. “We can achieve so many more of our future by working together than individually. It takes us a huge step closer to our mission of trying to be a place where the world tells its stories.”
Polaroid is rebranding the service as well as re-launching it in the U.S. to expand Blipfoto’s footprint, possibly increasing the user base by leveraging the Polaroid brand. (As you may know. Polaroid no longer makes things, but licenses its brand; the rebranding of Blipfoto is just part of Polaroid’s strategy for its namesake, which has become more valuable than the old products it was known for.) Part of the new service is a redesign and free apps for iOS and Android, but users (called “Blippers”) can continue to use the Web portal. The service is free and ad-free, and the site will also host photo competitions and community discussions. The service also encourages users to support one another, whether it’s photography tips or weeding out trolls. In some ways, the service recalls how Polaroid instant cameras were used in the past.
Of course, asking people to share only one photo is easier said than done, but Blipfoto isn’t meant to replace the more popular services; it’s designed to complement them. You can continue to use the other sites as a dumping ground of sorts, but the idea with Blipfoto is that in the future, you can look back to your photos and spark the memories that made a particular day special, which is the idea of photography to begin with.