Out in my garage, my family has tub after tub of old photographs that we never see. The problem with it all is that they are so disorganized, that we never get to see them, yet there are so many photographs, that’s all we want to do.
For the last couple of years, 1000memories has been a service that users take advantage of by storing old photos that would otherwise be left to collect dust. Today, the company is launching a new set of features, a redesign, and a major overhaul of how the service will work in the form of Shoeboxes.
Shoeboxes are essentially virtual containers that hold related photos. For example, you could have a shoebox that holds old family wedding photos, or one with all of the Little League photos for 10 years. Each shoebox can hold as many photos as needed and provides a central place of storage for old photos.
While that is useful, what will likely be a key selling point is that shoeboxes are selectively collaborative. This means that in my case, I can create a shoebox and share it with family members, who can then upload photos of their own. For me, it means possibly creating a genealogy shoebox for some people, another for a good trip we’ve shared, and another for someplace I’ve lived.
1000memories is also looking into creating physical products in the next month that will take advantage of this. The company understands that these organized and collaborative works can easily be turned into a physical photo album, or a single image within the shoebox being turned into a postcard. This will likely end up being a very valuable revenue stream in the long run.
Of course, while all of these features will be valuable to users, it is hard to see how the service will differentiate itself from competitors. Many people have grown accustomed to storing and sharing photos over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and so it may be hard to add yet another service to people’s digital lives. That being said, Shoeboxes may add a new layer of value by adding security features, tighter privacy controls, and a focus on much older photographs. If the market grows large enough, though, one of the more dominant photography players will likely enter it.
One possible additional way that it may be differentiating itself from competition is via a partnership with ScanCafe, which has also been announced today. ScanCafe performs one of the more irritating and cumbersome tasks, which is scanning in the photos themselves. With the partnership, users can send in their old photos in bulk and have the photos returned to them on a DVD.
That being said, at this point, the redesign and relaunch of 1000memories main page is likely to excite those groups of people that, like myself, never see the photographs from before the digital age.