Contemplating Path’s ‘Stacks’ And The Future of Mobile Photography
The introduction of the Stacks feature prompted us to wonder if any single mobile camera and photo-sharing application will soon serve as a single source across usage occasions - and whether Instagram can play that role.
A recent piece by Robert Scoble on Business Insider discussed Path’s new ‘Stacks’ feature for photos, which will essentially let you see stacks of photos around specific metatags (people, places or things) in your photos – if you make Path the camera you use everytime you take a photo. Scoble made a great point in that the full-scale adaptation of this feature may be limited given current user behavior. Specifically, the current variety of photo-based or photo-enhanced applications make it difficult for anyone to rely on one single camera source across a variety of situational (and even emotional) needs. While the author illustrated his point by providing his own personal assessment of the various applications/cameras he relies on across various situations, we’re illustrating the point with our own:
- Photo-journaling everyday observations on where we are, what we see and what catches our eye: Instagram. One might use Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, or Flickr to share it.
- Sharing our food? Foodspotting or Instagram do the trick. Foodies unite, invite commentary, show off both their creations and their restaurant selections – and proceed to water at the mouth.
- Enhancing our photos: When Instagram isn’t sufficiently customized, there’s also Camera+, TiltShiftGen, Old Camera, and even Hipstamatic (though it seems Instagram may have killed this) – among others…
- Sharing our experiences, travel and personal moments with our friends and family: Facebook, Path, etc. These tend to be (correct or not) ‘controlled’ networks where we might share with a select group of people we know and trust.
Scoble’s piece moved us to ask several questions. Will we reach a point of mobile-photography ‘overload’, given the number of applications that we depend on for different situations? Or will our collective mobile behavior adapt to where this feels normal? Will any camera/mobile application eventually serve as our single resource across all these situations – allowing us to simply shoot, edit, then select where and how to share and comment across platforms?
Of the current offerings, we believe Instagram holds the highest potential, with integration across a few of the basic networks and platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr, etc.). While there’s a number of features they’re certainly working on building in, a few on our ‘wish list’ would include:
- Analytics – how many people viewed and commented across my photos over the past week (or more)? Are they in my network, or not?
- Allow for different commentary across the various applications/platforms we’re sharing across – I may have different commentary for what I post to Facebook or Twitter, than what I shared when I titled the photo
- Add Foodspotting more immediately to the list of platforms/networks we can share across
- Perhaps a premium feature with expanded filters and customized editing options
- An Android version (feels like a significant missed opportunity to expand their user base and permeation)
This is just our basic wish list. We’d love your thoughts on what might compel you to make a single application like Instagram your single-source camera and mobile photography resource.