Adding real value to smartphone camera pictures

Most technology features follow a similar path, from imitation to improvement to transformation.  First they imitate something that came before, like telephones imitating the telegraphs of yesteryear.  Then they improve on them, like phones entering individual homes. Then they transform the entire endeavor, completely surpassing the previous technology, like phones automatically connecting people without operator involvement, which enabled society to communicate in ways that telegraph users never contemplated.

Cellphone cameras are following a similar path.  At the beginning cellphone cameras were imitating digital cameras, adding the convenience of carrying only one device but basically doing the same as digital cameras did.  Then they improved on them, both with quality improvements and with the ability to share pictures wirelessly without wiring the phone to a computer.  The ability to instantly share and synchronize pictures from a phone is somewhat transformational, in terms of its effect on society, but it's still doing things that digital camera users could do when they connected their camera to their computer.  But we're now seeing apps coming out that Grizzly Analytics believes will truly transform cameras.

One such app is going to launch this week for the iPhone, called GroupShot.  GroupShot addresses a frustration that anyone with a big family has had a lot - taking a picture in which everyone in the picture looks decent.  With the seven kids in my family, it's next to impossible, and with extended family, forget it!  But GroupShot addresses this, enabling phone users to take a few pictures and then combine them to form a single great picture.



Grizzly Analytics believes that GroupShot is only the first of many apps about to come out that will truly enable cellphone cameras to do things that digital camera users can only dream of.  I'm certainly counting the days until GroupShot comes out for Android.

I spoke with Yair Bar-On, CEO of Macadamia Apps, the creators of GroupShot.  They're excited about launching GroupShot, and think it will transform how families and other big groups take their pictures. Until now, he says, combining pictures was easy for professionals to do with PhotoShop, but not something that most mothers would do when photographing their children.  GroupShot puts this in everyone's hands.

Macadamia Apps has other, more powerful, capabilities on the drawing boards, primarily in other areas of picture processing, but of course he can't say more now.  This app and this company both look worth following closely.

For the future, Grizzly Analytics believes that apps in the areas of picture processing and picture sharing will completely transform how we take pictures.  This is starting already with easy sharing over Facebook, with picture GeoTagging, and more. But most of these to date are still imitating what we could do before by wiring our camera to our computer.  The next stage, starting already in 2012, will be to change how we take pictures altogether.  Keep on eye on this area for huge activity soon.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting... Bruce, and what do you say about ActionShot and AddMe by Samsung? Seems in the same league...

    - Denis

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  2. Denis - I certainly like the Samsung camera apps, and the team that developed them is first-rate :-). GroupShot is different from camera special effects, though, in that it addresses a need that real-world people see in every-day picture-taking. PlusMe is a good close one as well.

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  3. My question was not in search of appreciation :) I was just wondering how you compare those applications. Looking at how you wrote about GroupShot, I think most of the things stand for ActionShot and AddMe as well. None of them you can do on a digital camera.
    (Although I can imagine all three of them being ported back to digital cameras -- why not? What's the difference, except historical?)

    I agree, GroupShot would find more uses than ActionShot, and probably than AddMe. By the way, I believe Samsung at some point rejected GroupShot application -- the same functionality and the same name.
    Now we can see if they were wrong :)

    - Denis

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  4. And here is the PC predecessor:
    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/groupshot/

    - Denis

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  5. Here I found this forum post, as an anecdotal evidence of what users may want (or as a self-promotion:)).
    A Galaxy S user writes (about S2):

    "So far the only disappointment for me is that samsung didn't include the "Add Me" effect in Scene Mode. I've had so much fun with this effect and I actually use it more compared to any other scene mode. "

    http://samsunggalaxysforums.com/showthread.php/5411-Any-alternatives-to-Add-Me-Scene-Mode

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  6. Nowadays, mobile phone users are considering camera features when they going to buy smartphones. Apple, Nokia, Samsung like leading smartphone makers attach powerful camera in their smartphones.

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