Location-based Services (LBS) with a Focus on Photo Sharing

By Aaron Strout, Mike Schneider, B. J. Emerson

  • Instagram: If you like taking pictures and are active on the social web, you’ll love Instagram. Instagram lets someone seamlessly take pictures, add one of a dozen filters (many retro in style), and then cross-post to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, foursquare (with an ability to check in to the location the picture is from), e-mail, Tumblr, and Posterous. Even Foodspotting and Instagram have integration points!

    The other infectious aspect of Instagram is that it creates a community of people who like to take pictures — some good, some not — through its light commenting and “like” functionality. Many who use Instagram claim to spend hours editing and posting pictures and commenting on friends’ handiwork.

    Instagram has changed the way people share photos, through an innovative new design. Sharing photos is simple, and filtering by users and locations is a piece of cake, thanks to integration with foursquare. While previous photo-sharing applications like Hipstamatic offered a lot more in terms of effects, Instagram has been more popular and more viral due to its cool, easy, sharing model.

    Some of the posting choices Instagram affords users.
    Some of the posting choices Instagram affords users.
  • Path: Path is a high-profile application that’s starting to gain interest. It’s based on a concept of intimacy.

    Anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed that there is a limit to the number of people to whom one can be related socially. This number isn’t precise, but he supposed it was somewhere between 100 and 250. The higher the number of people you can maintain social relationships with, the better your long-term memory, so the theory goes.

    Path limits each user to 50 friends, as that is supposed to be the inner ring of Dunbar’s theory. In essence, there are 50 people that you trust and that you would invite to a party. Because Path is supposed to be a more intimate way to share pictures and videos with people, you need to choose friends wisely, as you’re cut off after 50 people on Path.

    Essentially, it’s another photo-sharing application. According to the website, Path bills itself as “the personal network.” This means that it’s a place to “be yourself and share life with close friends and family.” Path has a straightforward interface for photo uploading.

    If you’re promoting a brand on Path, you know that you’re “competing” against only 49 other people for every user you connect with on Path. The nice thing is that when someone sees your message, you’re informed because their face is attached to the output.

    Path’s straightforward interface allows the uploading of photos with simple tagging.
    Path’s straightforward interface allows the uploading of photos with simple tagging.