October 16, 2006 – New multi-media data synching provider Sharpcast Inc. announced Sharpcast Photos Beta 2 last week. The new update offers an enhanced photo uploader, a free 5GB storage account, and photo edit-synching functions across multiple desktops, web applications, and cell phones.
In July, Sharpcast Photos Beta launched for the first time. Sharpcast synchronizes a user’s photos on their PCs, select mobile Cingular, Verizon, and Motorola phones, and the web.
In a survey of early adopters of Sharpcast, more than half of the users were over the age of 50, according to Sharpcast CEO Gibu Thomas who was surprised at the findings. Those who are not very tech-savvy tended to be the majority base for Sharpcast, said Thomas in an interview with DigitalCameraInfo.com.
With the goal to make uploading to multiple outlets effortless, Sharpcast boosts that the service coordinates photos online and off. For example, a Sharpcast user could go to a party and show friends vacation photos right from their mobile phone. Even more, they could share their entire photo album with friends directly from their cell, rather than sharing photos from a desktop, according to Thomas.
The new Sharpcast Beta 2 includes web albums with a multiple photo uploader that can handle entire albums, according to the website. The new beta also now retains edits made to photos and syncs them across multiple media devices, whereas the older beta did not have editing options.
Sharpcast also includes a Photo Chat feature, allowing users to directly share comments in real time. "It’s like having a chat room for each photo," said Thomas. Sharpcast, unlike Google’s Picasa, allows users to leave messages without their contacts being online. Sharpcast changes the passive photo viewing experience into interactive, said Thomas.
The new Sharpcast version also adds 5GB of storage space, placing an emphasis on the service as a backup photo solution. The older Sharpcast beta only allowed for compressed files, while the new Sharpcast program allows users to back up original high resolution files. The 5GB account is available to those who register before November 15 and lasts until the end of this year.
Sharpcast plans to continue to release more versions in a phase manner, according to Thomas, instead of one large launch. The Windows program will expand support to Macs, with added integration with iPhoto, due out this week. A future adaptation will also add printing capabilities and open API sync to other popular photo-sharing providers. Although Thomas could not disclose details, Sharpcast also plans to release a future version next month that syncs other types of files.
"People just don’t know that they can have this simple of an experience," said Thomas. Sharpcast claims to have changed the concept of the whole user experience, making the upload and syncing process almost instantaneous. "Sharpcast is a one-unified experience where you never have to do things twice," said Thomas.