Microsoft Alums Create Flickr Competitor in the Photo Sharing Space


The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft alums picture photo sharing made easy The Seattle Business Times is reporting that a group of former high-ranking Microsoft executives have emerged from retirement to build an online photo sharing site.

Vizrea is the name of the company and they are formally debuting their demo tomorrow at the Demo conference currently ongoing in Phoenix, AZ.

Their website looks surprisingly sparse and flickrish.

From their website: Vizrea Snap is not only the best service around for camera phone users, it’s a complete solution for all digital photos. Whether they’re from a digital camera, scanner, or have just been sitting on a computer forever, Vizrea Snap makes everything you want to do sharing, organizing, printing, blogging – a snap.

Start sharing with friends in only a couple of clicks and have your camera phone photos organized and shared automatically!”

They obviously have friends in high places as under “new photos” on their front page they have a link to a photo stream by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg.

They also have a rating system and a ranking system that would appear to highlight photos in a “this month’s top rated photos” section, similar to Flickr’s interestingness.

Could this property be being built on the side to give Microsoft the photo sharing property that is stil missing and Media Center lacks? One of the executives heading up the effort is Mike Toutonghi who is credited by the Seattle Times as having previously started the Microsoft eHome division, which created Media Center for Microsoft.

Brad Silverberg, Brad Chase, and Brad Schick, all also Microsoft alums, are involved in the company as well.

Like Flickr, the company plans to offer a basic level, limited storage, free account as well as sell a premium version of the site for more robust users.

Before this week the company had seemed to be operating in stealth mode and was featured back in October of last year as a “stealth startup of the week” by John Cook on his Seattle PI Venture Blog.

Is the photo sharing space getting ready to heat up?

Update: JupiterMedia’s Michael Gartenberg says that the company is more than just about photo sharing and to keep an eye on them as they relate to “contextual flow.” From Gartenberg: “Contextual flow is marked by the seamless transition from one digital context to another, regardless of location or type of device used or the nature of the content or information being accessed.”

Looks like they are probably working on more than just photos and in more places than just the PC.

Update #2: Looks like Uncle Walt’s private photos are no longer available for view on the site any more.

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