Storytelling is an art — and if the growing number of apps dedicated to it is any indication — many people harbor artistic aspirations.
That’s the impetus behind MyAlbum, a new Web app that helps people create visual stories with their photos and videos. MyAlbums aren’t just any old photos lined up with explanatory text, but rather platforms from which you can construct a visual presentation with genuine data and original design elements.
MyAlbum is in public beta, but it’s freely available to try now. A companion iOS app is under development, and is expected to launch in a few weeks.
MyAlbum differs from photo sharing services like Flickr and Instagram, which are aimed at sharing selected images or videos with a large group of friends. This app lets you package complete stories for viewing by a smaller, more private audience.
“People are shooting more photos and videos than ever before, while only 3 billion of them are shared across social media each day,” said Jos de Schiffart, MyAlbum co-founder. “These platforms are semi-public and aimed at sharing without any context. MyAlbum takes the next step forward by introducing enriched visual stories with a smaller more private audience.”
Once you upload photos and videos, the app’s algorithms select the best shots from the batch. Then, you choose elements from the Web app interface to “enrich” your stories with text, maps, the weather at the time you shot the photo, tourist information about your location and other elements to create a uniquely personal narrative.
“MyAlbum combines the timestamp with the location, which the user can easily fill out using the Google Places API to get the actual weather on the day of your wedding 20 years ago,” de Schiffart, said.
The app lets you create albums with an unlimited number of photos and videos from any computer, tablet or mobile device in five languages (French, Dutch, German, English and Spanish). You can upload and download high-resolution images with a full display of camera EXIF information.
Just create an account on the service or log in with your Facebook or Google account and you can start uploading a photo collection up to 10GB of storage space. After MyAlbum’s algorithms choose the best shots, the app creates a layout, which you can adjust to your liking.
There’s not much in the way of editing tools — just crop and rotate and filter.
Then, you can use the metadata from your images to tell a more complete story. The app lets you incorporate online data in a clean design with a number of visual choices to customize your presentation with text, tourist information, icons and pleasing colors. Of course you can also add your own text.
Some content is derived from MyAlbum’s database of over 20,000 points of interest from all over the world and users can embed information into their stories based on image GPS data. For older cameras that do not have advanced location features, the app’s Google Places API lets you type in a location, which the app will then find.
For additional content, MyAlbum has partnered with organizations like Discover America, Atout France and Tourspain as well as various hotel chains, museums, parks and other destinations.
The MyAlbum Web-app beta is completely operative now. After an iPhone app is launched, an iPad version will follow, with Android expected by the end of the year. Meantime, Android users can still view, upload and share photos.
The apps will be available for free with 2GB of storage space. Pricing for premium accounts will also be available. During the current beta period users get 10GB free as a base storage space for as long as they use the service.
This fun service is swift, easy to use and offers some uniquely versatile options. It won’t take 20 minutes to produce a picturesque story, so have a look.