Super Web Tech: Chronicling the Evolution of the Internet

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

PayPal Co-Founder Launches Photoblog Community

PayPal co-founder readies photo-sharing service
Published: August 26, 2005, 1:25 PM PDT
By Alorie Gilbert

What's new:
PayPal co-founder Max Levchin on Monday plans to launch Slide, a service that combines aspects of social networking, photo sharing, Web syndication and e-commerce in order to let members subscribe to one another's photo blogs.
At the heart of Slide is a downloadable desktop program that indexes all the photos on the user's hard drive and creates a slide show at the edge of the screen.
[Levchin] claims Slide's publish and subscribe tools are easier to use than other services (see below), which require some technical know-how and a familiarity with RSS. The general public... need simpler tools, he said.
Slide's "playback," or slide show, feature is unique too, Levchin said. The desktop toolbar looks like a strip of film with different photos in each frame, and it continually scrolls through a trove of stored images that people would probably rarely view otherwise. When consumers mouse over a particular shot, the slide show pauses and enlarges the image. The program gives people the option of e-mailing the photo from there.

The company plans to let members incorporate video, text and news headlines with photos too, creating multimedia "channels."
Slide's business model is another distinguishing feature. Advertising is the main source of revenue for most competitors, but Slide plans to sustain itself on commissions from facilitating online shopping. It has already inked agreements with online shoe store and designer-clothing outlet Bluefly. The Web stores have agreed to maintain a Slide photo gallery of their products with links back to their stores. Slide members can subscribe to the photos, and whenever they purchase something, Slide gets a cut of the transaction.

Slide isn't alone in its quest to gain a foothold in the digital photography arena. Here are some other competitors:
Imeem - Users can decide to share their profiles, blogs, photos and instant messages with friends, friends of friends, everyone on the imeem network or everyone on the Web, depending on the application. The search engine returns results only for the areas the searcher is authorized to enter.

MySpace -
MySpace - In partnership with Moreover Technologies, Microsoft's Internet division... add[ed] features to MyMSN [later renamed MySpace], its personalized Web service, that... let users find blogs and syndicate content using the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) format.

Yahoo 360 combines a new blogging tool along with several longtime Yahoo products, including instant messaging, photo storage and sharing, and Internet radio. It also offers tools for sharing recommendations about places to eat, favorite movies, music and so on.

Flikr lets users subscribe to photo feeds using the Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, protocol made popular by blogs.


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