Vizrea: Mobile Media Sharing, But Not Just Sharing Mobile Media

welcomelogo.gifI’ve been playing around with the media-sharing app and service Vizrea for a while now, and I quite like it. There are three basic parts of Vizrea — an application for S60 devices, a web site, and a Windows PC application — which combine to serve as a full-fledged media sharing service that lets users not just share content they’ve created on their mobile phone, but also anything else that’s been uploaded to the site, or is in the PC program. On one level, Vizrea is a great mobile photo and video sharing application; on another level, it’s like a fully mobile photo album that gives users access to all the pictures they’ve taken, either on their cameraphone or from a standalone digital camera, and the ability to share them right from the mobile device. And users on faster networks can access music files on their home PC and stream them to their phone, to boot.

Sort of the rub with Vizrea is that it’s not made for everybody, and I don’t mean that because the handset application’s currently only available for some S60 devices, or because the PC software is Windows-only. This isn’t something that’s necessarily aimed at early adopters: if you’re already just uploading your cameraphone photos to Flickr and are happy, you may not be particularly interested in it. But for users interested for something that offers a bit more than just a photo hosting and tagging site, like the ability to blog and upload different types of content, Vizrea is a good choice, and seems like something that should be popular with the MySpace and Xanga (do kids even use that anymore?) set, if it becomes available on more handsets. The added ability to access photos and media that’s on the PC also makes it stand out from other photo-sharing services.

One of the features added in the latest release is a display widget (as you can see above) that can be embedded in a user’s MySpace page, an existing blog, or wherever else on the web they want to put it (similar to Mojungle). Users organize their photos into different albums, called collections. For instance, the one I’ve put here is “From My Mobile”. Each collection can be embedded separately, and users have control over the privacy settings of each item, letting them choose exactly what they want displayed. The uploading aspect is simple, from the handset. Vizrea can upload photos in the background as they’re taken, or use the application to determine what to send up to the site. Getting photos on the site with the PC app was a little more challenging for me — perhaps I’ve been using a Mac too long, but it took me a little while to figure it out. I don’t believe the usability of the PC app is quite up to snuff with the mobile app and web service.

The sharing abilities of Vizrea are quite cool, though. From the mobile device, you can share anything that’s been uploaded to the web, or that’s on your PC. You simply navigate through the collections to the image you want, then choose to share it, and can then send a message with it to your friends within Vizrea, or outside contacts. You’re not sending the actual image, but a link to it — saving on messaging costs. For mobile users, they get a link to Vizrea’s mobile site, email recipents get a link to the web version. So you’re not limited to just sharing the picture you’ve just taken, or even what’s just stored on your phone, which is handy.

Vizrea has a solid team behind it, not least of which founder and CEO Mike Toutonghi, whose desire to build and improve the service seems tireless. They’re on to something here, though, like so many other mobile companies, they do face some challenges — driving user uptake foremost among them. But Vizrea is a well thought out service that, unlike some others, recognizes cameraphone photos are just a piece of a users’ overall digital media makeup, and having the ability to access and share all of it from the mobile will prove pretty attractive.

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