Piictu picks up where Photovine was killed off

piictuFor an app that caused such an uproar, Google’s Photovine was not long for this world. After rampant speculation about the mobile photo-sharing platform began early this summer, we all started wondering if Google was making a go at Instagram-like success. And now, we clearly know better.

About a week after Photovine officially launched, Google killed Slide, the team behind the infant app. We admit Photovine was really good at getting us overly attached from the get-go, but there is a solution for all the early addicts: Piictu. Piictu was heavily speculated to be the inspiration for Photovine–a nice way of saying that the latter was remarkably similar to Piictu, which was in beta testing at the time of launch. “We had been out for about 5 weeks when we learned about photovine. We where shocked and a bit sadden to see something like that happen to a great product and a great team. We believe this will become a big space and more than one company can coexist and even be complimentary,” says co-founder Johnathon Slimak.

Piictu, part of the TechStars accelerator program, is officially out of beta today and ready to pick up where Photovine left off, with a few new features here and there. The concept is nearly identical: Piictu’s users start photo conversations, with people posting their own image interpretations of the topics.

But while the idea behind Piictu is the same, we’re bigger fans of its format. Photovine, if you remember, was cartoonish and busy. With its monkey icon and vine theme it looked more like a children’s game than an app for the Instagram set. Piictu is more bare-bones, cleaner, and altogether easier on the eyes.

Adding to a stream lets you also push your picture (and optional caption) to Facebook and Twitter, or even mention fellow Piictu users in your posts. And if there were any confusion in using Piictu, the app offers clues to streamline the process.

Apps like Piictu seem to be doing what Color couldn’t do. The ill-fated but commercially lauded Color was ahead of its time and eluded its audience, but Piictu is showing us how to have photo conversations, and doing it well without confusion. Of course the location piece isn’t quite there yet (something Photovine did have a leg up on), but this was also one of Color’s most criticism components.

And as co-founder Slimak explains, this isn’t really a direct Instagram competitor. Instagram and its competitors are about photo sharing, while Piictu isn’t. “It’s not another photo sharing app. Instagram does that perfectly.” Piictu is about “photo interaction,” as he puts it. This is only the start: “We are really exited to be finalizing our version one which encompasses most of the feedback we have been getting from our users. We’re looking forward to getting started on the next iterations.  This is an exciting space, so we’re definitely looking forward to the road ahead. Amongst our next steps is also growing horizontally. We have an Android version coming very soon!”