Zooomr Set to Launch Version 2.0 Later This Month
Good news blogosphere. Kristopher Tate, the 17 year old wunderkind blogged about previously here as the fastest developer of the photo trackback feature in the West, can now vote. Yes, that’s right, he’s 18 now and well what better way to ring in the celebrated 18th year than by releasing a new version of his software. Mike Arrington has the scoop, and Arington’s screenshots (yes of course it is ironic, mine and Arrington’s Zooomr screenshots on Flickr), and Tate is saying that he will roll out version 2.0 of Zooomr later this month.
So what’s new in version 2.0? I’ve had a chance to play around with the beta software for the past few days and some pretty cool stuff. One of the main new features is something called SmartSets. SmartSets really are best thought of as live dynamic photo search, but the application for photo sets and photo pools are huge.
One of the most requested features at Flickr has been something called sets of sets. The idea is this. Let’s say I go to Italy on vacation and want to create a set or album of photos to share called Italy 2006. But then I also want to create different sub sets within that set, say “Italy Florence 2006” “Italy Rome 2006” maybe “Italy kids 2006”. Right now with Flickr this is not easy to do.
What Zooomr 2.0 does with SmartSets is allows you to sort and dice your photos and also everyone else’s public photos in many different ways. So you could, for instance, have a set with all of your photos tagged Italy2006 and under that set a set called Italy2006Florence, etc.
What’s more SmartSets can be dynamic. Right now I have a set on my flickr stream called Flower. It basically includes all of the photos that I have of flowers. In order to include new flower shots that I want in this set I have to add them all individual or through the batch editor each time I upload a new shot. With Zooomr’s SmartSet function I can choose to create a set called flower that is dynamic and will automatically include any image I have in it with the tag flower. Auto set organization sort of.
Similarly I have a set called SuperFavs. These are shots that have been fav’d at Flickr at least 25 times. As it is now I manually add these shots to this set as they reach the 25 fav number. With Zooomr’s new SmartSets I could instead tell Zooomr to automatically build me a set that includes all of my shots that have been rated 5 star (Zooomr users rate photos on a 1 to 5 star basis instead of a simple fav or no fav) by 25 or more people. I could set this set up as dynamic to automatically include any qualifying shots going forward.
Where SmartSets start to get more interesting is when it comes to the potential for pooled photos. Right now I belong to a group at Flickr called the 100 Club. The idea behind the group is that it includes photos that people submit that have been fav’d at least 100 times. It’s got some really great images in it. And while it’s a great group as is for finding impressive images on Flickr, I’m certain that there are images with at least 100 favs that are not in this pool. At present there is no way to find these photos on Flickr. With Zooomr’s new SmartSets you will be able to do this automatically yourself. You can, for instance, say show me all public photos on Zooomr that have been ranked 5 Star over 100 times. Now, *that* is cool. It also enables you to slice and dice the library of Zooomr images in so many fun ways. Theoretically, for instance, someone could create a ranking of the top 200 images on Zooomr.
But don’t think about SmartSets just as another tool that would give people the resource to make the already popular photos more popular. Another group in Flickr that I belong to is a group called Fav>5%. The idea behind this group is to find photos that have at least a 5% fav/view ratio. The thing I like about the Fav>5% group is that it is an excellent place to find new people on Flickr producing quality images. The pool there is filled with very strong images. Images that have high fav to view ratios. In many cases a photo with 10 favs and 100 views will be much stronger than a photo with 20 favs and 2000 views. Fav>5% seeks to find those images from the popular and not so popular photographs from Flickr irrespective of views based on a more relational quality rating ratio rather than pure popularity.
There are two problems with Fav>5% though. The first is that it is limited to the images of the people who choose to join and then limited to only the images that they post to the pool. Secondly, photos oftentimes fall out of the 5% ratio even though they were greater than 5% when originally added. This dilutes the pool.
With Zooomr’s new SmartSets, you can overcome both of these problems. You could, for instance, create a SmartSet (or maybe I should call it a SmartPool) that showed you all photos with at least 5 favs (or again 5 people gave it a 5 star rating) that had less than 100 views. This then becomes a powerful tool for searching Zooomr for images that might not be by the most popular photographers (hence the lower view count) but that seemed to be liked by a high percentage of people. A great way to discover talented *new* photographers and then make them contacts.
Other fun things coming in 2.0 include the release of a companion bulk uploader to bulk upload your images to Zooomr, speed and performance enhancements, something called “Awesomeness,” similar to Flickr’s “Interestingness,” new technology called TagAssist which will recommend tags for your photos based on what you tag them initially for better search and the addition of the above mentioned ratings feature which will allow you to rate any photo you view from 1 to 5 and you can also mark a photo as a reject ensuring that you won’t see it again. A lot of emphasis has also been put on geotagging.
So what is Zooomr still missing? Not a whole heck of a lot… except they still lack the sticky social aspect that Flickr has with the richness of their groups. Group social interaction is indeed the glue that binds at flickr for some of their most active users and certainly part of the addiction for me.
It’s exciting to see Zooomr developing these new features though even as Flickr recently enhanced their own. My view is that competition is good in the photo sharing space and that there is also room for lots of different places for a user to share their photos. I recently uploaded most of my photos also to Riya and Tabblo as well and am excited about the things t
hat they are up to too.
Watch for Zooomr to roll out their version 2.0 later this month and give it a spin.