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This article was published on November 12, 2012

Tapestry for Android lets you beam curated photo albums to friends and family in real-time

Tapestry for Android lets you beam curated photo albums to friends and family in real-time
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

How many times have you given a friend or loved-one your phone to view some photos, or stretched across a table, still grasping your device, to show that irresistibly-cute snap of your newborn? Probably more often than you care to admit.

With that in mind, Tapestry is the latest photo-sharing app out of the blocks, letting users create and curate impromptu photo albums on the spot, and beam them to other users.

How it works

When you first launch the app, you’ll see your camera roll displayed in the Tapestry app instantly.

You then select which photos you’d like to show off, and click ‘Curate’.

Tapestry will only work with other people who also have the app installed. So if you’re not already connected to anyone with Tapestry, you’ll need to invite them at this point.


You’ll then be invited to refer Tapestry to friends by SMS.

Assuming you have contacts to connect with, you can select an unlimited number of people to ‘beam’ your album to, by selecting their names and clicking ‘Start Show-and-Tell’.

And this is the real beauty of Tapestry – the sender controls the show. The private slideshow takes place in real-time over a shared network, and as you zoom and pan through your photos, the invitees see the corresponding transitions on their own phones. The cherry on the cake? They can download any photos they like to their device with a simple swipe.

The case for Tapestry

While Tapestry is aimed at those who are physically next to each other – sort of like a round-the-table presentation or campfire-esque scenario – it will work across 3G/4G, so really you could be anywhere in the world, though given that the company only taps one US-based server, the lag-time you experience will vary depending on where you are.

The one gripe I have is the recipient(s) must have the app actively open on their smartphone to sync up the slideshow. It would be handy if there was some sort of push notification that informed a user of an incoming album-share. I understand what Tapestry is looking to do here, but show-and-tell alerts would be a good addition, rather than it requiring the sender to prompt them to launch the app to start the photo presentation.

That said, founder and CEO Allen Tsai acknowledges that people will be able to “get creative” and use Tapestry however they wish.

“My father lives in Los Angeles, I am in San Francisco,” says Tsai. “He complains that I never send him pictures of my newborn twin daughters anymore, so what I did was I called him on the phone, we put each other on speakerphone, and we launched the app. I was able to walk him, in real time, through the photos, going through all the ‘manipulations of the images’, tell my story, and he was able to swipe-to-download whatever pictures he liked.”

The words “photo” and “sharing” are key components to many, many apps out there, something that Tsai is acutely aware of. And on the surface, Tapestry does seem awfully similar to something like PhotoCircle, but Tsai insists Tapestry’s main attributes lies in the “experience”.

So while both PhotoCircle and Tapestry are all about sharing photos with a small, select group of people, the former is more about collaborative photo-sharing for (semi)-permanent albums, and the latter is about one person sharing their snaps in real-time. One is “asynchronous consumption”, as Tsai puts it, akin to browsing Facebook or Instagram feeds.

“Tapestry prefers a ‘curated’ approach, where a storyteller shares, in their own words, the rich details behind these images, all in a synchronized fashion, very much like an artist escorting patrons through his/her exhibition, from work to work, proudly describing minute details and inspirations,” he says.

Indeed, with Tapestry, nothing you share is stored – it’s all about the ‘now’.

Tapestry is free to download from Google Play now.

Tapestry | Android

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

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