Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]
If you’re still on the look out for a new and different way to share your photos through an iOS app, WeHeartPics is definitely worth a look. While the app is currently iOS only, an Android version will be available by May.
WeHeartPics is a social network unto itself, and also makes it easy to share your photos on Facebook and Twitter. What sets the app apart is that it almost feels like a combination of Facebook and apps like Instagram and PicYou. It combines elements of Facebook’s Timeline together with Instagram’s filtered photography, to create a photo-powered story of your life.
The team behind the app
We caught up with WeHeartPics’ founder, Ilya Zudin to find out more about the app, and the team behind it. He told The Next Web, “There are 9 of us. We are a Russian team. We began to work on WeHeartPics about 4 to 5 month ago. To do our best and to concentrate as much as possible, we relocated to Thailand for six months (winters in Moscow are quite cold), where we live and work all together in two sea-view villas.”
Having developed and launched the app, the team will soon be relocating to Europe or the US, where they can network and share ideas with other startups.
The Russian team is made up almost entirely of engineers, “We have three beautiful girls among us,” Ilya explains, “Which is quite rare for an IT startup. Most of our team is between 23 to 25 years old. I’m the oldest guy in my thirties.”
So why did they decide to enter a rather competitive market with another iPhone photography app? Ilya explains, “Personally I like photography and I have a DSLR and use Instagram, of course. The hardest part for me was always finding ideas for my photos. And I believe that there exists a problem of a blank list for people who have a camera in their hands but have no idea what to shoot”.
WeHeartPics addresses this problem by providing users with a list of types of photos to share, an endless sources of inspiration.
How the app works
To sign up for a WeHeartPics account, you have to connect to either your Facebook or Twitter profiles. While this makes sense, since the app is all about sharing your life, Ilya tells us that the next update will include an old-school sign up, where users can simply use their email addresses to create an account.
Once you’re logged in, you can start adding photos (or ‘stories’) about yourself – your appearance, clothing, what you like to read, watch and listen to, your hobbies, your car – basically everything about you.
Other categories include friends and family (your kids, partner, pet, co-workers, classmates etc.), your home (your neighbourhood, view from your window, plants etc.), your office or school (your workspace, what you’re working on now etc.), places you go (parks, entertainment, nightlife, restaurants) and your city (the streets, architecture, signs, weather report etc.).
The final category, Daily Stories, is the ultimate source of inspiration. It features random themes updated on a daily basis, and you can only add photos to the theme of the day. The current theme is ‘Everyday Apps’, while previous themes inclue coca-cola cans, what’s in your pocket and your nightstand book.
You can either add photos directly from your ‘Stories’ tab, or using the ever-present camera button in the bottom right hand corner of the app. When adding photos using that button, you’ll be prompted to choose between sharing it as a ‘Story’ or just sharing it on your ‘Timeline’ as a snapshot.
Your profile is divided into three tabs, and features a Path-like cover photo at the top of the page. The first tab – your Timeline – features photographs that you’ve added as ‘snapshots’ or ‘stories’. The second tab ‘Stories’, displays all of the photos you’ve added into the designated categories, and finally there’s ‘Private’ tab featuring photos you’ve uploaded but havent’ shared.
In addition to the Timeline on your profile, there’s also a ‘Timeline’ in the main menu where you can view your activity and activity from your friends.
As you continue to add photos using the app, your profile becomes a visual representation of who you are.
WeHeartPics really focuses on the concept of sharing your life and your ‘daily stories’ using photos, and it does it well. The app’s interface is slick, and if Facebook had been paying attention when it designed its iPhone app – it might have looked and felt a little bit more like this. In all irony, the app feels a little bit like a combination of Facebook and Instagram.
If we had one complaint about WeHeartPics it would be the fact that there are perhaps too many features, which can make the app a little confusing at first.
The social aspect of the ‘Daily Stories’ are great, and seeing what other people all over the world are sharing is part of the app’s charm. That said, WeHeartPics is also asking you to share an awful lot of information about yourself in photographs – your home, kids and neighbourhood are not something that everyone would want to share with the world.
Ilya tells us that we can expect a more robust privacy feature in the coming month, explaining how it will work: “When you switch your profile to private mode, nobody can see your photos in any section until you’ve granted them access. But we don’t plan to implement comprehensive privacy settings.”
With its private mode, WeHeartPics has the potential to become a photo-powered alternative to Facebook. The main problem that the app faces is, with Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, are users going to even look for a third option? With many users vowing to ditch Instagram, it’s very possible, the answer is yes, as the app can definitely market itself as an Instagram-alternative.
Even die-hard Facebook fans can use the app to feed content into their profiles, while keeping a beautifully crafted photographic timeline of their lives on WeHeartPics.
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