We all know that photos are key to engagement. Tech companies know it, but more important, the advertising world knows it. And although no one has fully mastered its potential, everyone knows that photography is the most important asset of the web today. That is why, more and more, we see a converging effort by tech companies to become the center of our photography life.

Whomever controls your photo stream, controls your social life. The battle has raged between Facebook and Google + to be the first place you post your precious phone images. With Instagram’s acquisition, Facebook wanted to make sure that its  current supremacy as the number one photo sharing platform would not be diminished. However, lately, new entrants are pushing their way in. Violently.

Twitter first, already a major player in the social media world. It’s recent push to make photos feel more invited, with the release of photo tagging and multiple image display, is a clear attempt at  land grab. It’s more recent offering of a photo centric wall – clearly similar to Facebook- is another push. It is certainly not its last effort.

Today, Dropox’s launch of Carousel, is a newer entry. By trying to become the entry point and repository of all your images online,  it is clearly signaling its intention to become a leader in the photo sharing space by squeezing itself right before the sharing part. By doing so and if successful, it can then easily add a share and display feature  that would cut the air out of any and all other sharing platform. Think about it.  All your images, taken by phone, camera, received by email, downloaded from the web in one place. From there, for now, you can share them somewhere else. Once popular, what prevent Dropbox to simply create its own  social media platform so you never have to leave Dropbox ?

Carousel screenshot
Dropbox wants your photos

With 275 million users, it is far behind its competitors. For now. But it could capture even more users from those who have never used Dropox before. How ? By getting current users to share their images via Dropox to non-users, have them sign up and hook them. This feature is actually live in Carousel today. They will become the first destination we go to after snapping a picture, especially those we do not want to share live or the first destination we go before we share an image. That, in scale, is a lot of traffic.

Facebook, Instagram , Twitter have no organizing features, something that is becoming critical to all, as our collection of images become enormous. For now, everyone has focused on the fire, post and forget approach, leaving users unable to create a searchable archive. Only G+, by combining with the Picasa ,has offered such a service.

By entering the backup and memory management service first, Dropbox might capture an essential part of the photo sphere that are keen to share but also eager to recall.

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.

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