Tracks finds its niche among iPhone photo apps with printable “live albums”

Tracks finds its niche among iPhone photo apps with printable “live albums”

Last week, Tracks launched its mobile social storytelling iPhone app at Tech Crunch Disrupt. The Tracks iPhone app lets users make “photo stories” with their friends. Users can create Tracks to string together photos from a wedding, a bachelor party, a family vacation, a night out with the girls or a year in New York.

Users can invite friends and family via email so they can add photos to the ‘track’ to tell– what Singh refers to as– “a living story” or create a “living album”. Tracks are auto-published on a web application for viewing and sharing. Since its launch, the app is doing particularly well globally, especially in Europe.

At first glance, Tracks operates a lot like Path with Instagram‘s layout minus the fun filters. Its ability to share geotagged  photos with a certain number of people is a feature we’ve seen quite a bit in a slew of group messaging apps. So I asked founder Vic Singh, a two-time entrepreneur (Tracks, NearVerse) and venture capitalist (RRE Ventures, Eniac Ventures) how is app compared with the rest.

“We’ve spent a lot of time as a team thinking about photos and the social graph. We’ve studied all of them. If you look at Facebook, everyone is invited to the party… Path tried to take the social photo experience off of Facebook and make it really personal with your 50 closest friends. But the problem with Path is they shrunk it to 50 people… Tracks isn’t about reducing the number of people, it’s about slicing up the social graph…Group messaging is the closest, but they’re all about the communications vehicle. A track is about capturing the whole experience in one place…

I’m a Beluga user, I have a crazy fraternity group with my brothers and I love it. But I would never publish this online. Tracks, you can publish into a beautiful album online and that’s where it starts to get different. It’s a photo story not just communication,” explains Singh.

And this is indeed where it starts to get different. Once you’ve shared a photo within the app, simply login at Tracks and all of your photos will be displayed within its web app (see image below).

Tracks created an algorithm that figures out the photo quality and orientation and automatically creates a PDF that they then send to their printing partners. While Tracks isn’t going to launch a full commerce service of printing just yet, it’s something the company will plan to do in the future.

To use: Simply download the app, set up a track and invite your friends. Your friends will receive an email, then they can download the app and join in. Right now invitations are matched by email, but in the next version they will be matched by phone numbers.

Comments, messaging and engagement in general are on the roadmap for the next Tracks app release. Singh says they might also get into editing and filters for their app. (If so, they should check out Aviary’s new API).

Interested in creating your own Track? Download the iOS app here (free).

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