Blurb, a company best known for its book self-publishing solution, launched a rather different service last year – a mobile photo sharing app for the iPhone. Today the app has been improved with new social features and an iPad version, so we decided to take a look.

Sharing photos is something that most of us like to do, but sometimes we want to share a bunch of images in one go in order to tell a story about, say, a trip we went on or an event we attended. Popular apps like Instagram and PicPlz aren’t geared up for that, but Blurb Mobile allows you to create multimedia stories quickly and easily and share them with the world.

Creating a story is a simple task of choosing the photos and videos you want to include and then tapping on each to add a text caption or record an audio commentary if you prefer. The iPad version additionally offers the ability to re-order your photos and videos in edit mode, to help form a meaningful story.

You can choose from a number of templates to define the look of your story, too. Stories can be set as private or published to the Web, where friends can explore your story for themselves. Other can also find your story via a new Story Stream feature. This shows stories posted by others and helps you get a flavour for what’s possible. If you connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts, you can see what your friends have been up to right from the app.

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I created an example story with the app and shared it to the Web, including an audio commentary on the first photo, and a video at the end.

Blurb Mobile is a free app and costs nothing to use. However, you can upgrade to a premium ‘Plus’ version for a $1.99 in-app payment, which alows you to add up to 3 videos to each story (instead of 1 in the free version), up to 15 photos (instead of 8), 2 minutes of audio per photo (instead of 30 seconds) and eight additional visual themes for your stories.

Blurb Mobile is a fun way of sharing multimedia stories, and the company is pitching it as being useful for journalists. While it could definitely see some interesting uses as a news reporting tool, the ability to embed stories in third-party websites is something Blurb will likely need to add in order to encourage its growth. Additionally, some greater variety in the presentation of stories would be good, to add the the standard ‘scroll to the right’ layout.

The updated Blurb Mobile is available today as a universal app for all iOS devices, here.

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