February 14, 2011

Cooliris Launches Group Photo Sharing, Raises $9.6M

The convergence of two major trends in the world of social - intimate hand-selected social networks and mobile photo sharing have converged on Cooliris, the Palo Alto-based company best known for its 3D Wall application, and the geniuses behind my personal favorite Gallery application for Android. In the crosshairs of this intersection, the company today is announcing LiveShare 1.2, a new group sharing photo stream service, and in parallel, the addition of nearly $10 million in series C funding from existing investors, including Silicon Valley legend Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

In the same frothy environment that has pushed peers like Instagram, Path and PicPlz to significant levels of visibility and in some cases valuation, Cooliris has delivered an application that lets users create photo streams on the fly, share them with any number of friends, including the option to make them fully public, and enable others to take action on your photos.

Starting With LiveShare, Creating a Stream and Adding Friends

While there are dozens of photo sites and applications out there, I've long felt a big gap has not been met in unifying the ability to support groups and events for shared experiences. If one has a hashtag at an event where everybody, including strangers, can participate, then why not also deliver a shared photo stream for all who took place in an event? Cooliris' new LiveShare capabiltiies make this a reality as you can view public streams, search for stream titles, or ingeniously scan your local area for streams nearby.

This Social Media Panel Photo Stream Has Multiple Contributors

Even if you are starting cold on LiveShare, the application asks you to select whether you want to see pubic streams from Music, Sports, Film, Festival or Nightlife. Select all of them to get the entire gamut of updates from friends and strangers in your area. Find a stream nearby, and you can give the location a tap to reveal photos in that stream, complete with relative time of the pictures to show recency.

Checking Cooliris Streams Nearby and Setting Filters

Unsurprisingly, LiveShare brings with it a like feature, as do most top social apps these days. Spot photos in your friends' streams or public streams that catch your eye? Simply hit the Thumbs Up button and provide positive feedback. Alternatively, you can share the item or flag it for being inappropriate - standard moderation tools for apps of this type.

Checking Out Public Streams and Liking Cool Photos

The most powerful delivery from the application isn't the fun stuff, like the fancy geolocation features and sharp photo quality, but instead that core value of multiple people posting to the same stream. Instead of having to wade through many different friends' streams to find all the photos of an event, all the friends can share to the same event, and retain record of authorship, so you don't have to worry you're giving away your art.

The $9.6 million in series C funding follows $15.5 million in series B funding from April of 2009 and $3 million in series A funding back in July of 2007, according to CrunchBase. In aggregate, the company has raised just over $28 million.