Friday, August 09, 2013

Some extra thoughts on everpix

When I wrote up the previous post on everpix, it struck me that it might just be the right tool to give me a great way to create an easy to browse “thumbnail” catalogue (visual photo database) of my ever expanding expanding photo collection in two ways.
  1. The first was to collect together my various on-line images in one place
  2. The second was to tackle my archived collection, which is stored on an external USB
I quickly realised that one database wouldn’t really solve the two issues at once so I split my investigation into two parts. Firstly I tackled the on-line stuff which I have to admit everpix just lapped up, it was probably less than half an hour and I had the email your “collection is ready”. My main net sharng is on either flickr or blogger (and the images are stored in a picasa web album), these were both available along with twitter, gmail, facebook & instagram. I’m not sure if there are plans to be able to connect to other services, like photobucket or smugmug. However don’t get to excited yet everpix only syncs photos photos that are in named albums in picasa web album (or Google+) and defined Photosets in Flickr, not all photos! So far I like the Daily Flashback email, by default everypix sends you a retrospective  of photos you have taken (and in my case published) on that day in history (which may depends on how many bonus months you have if like me you are trying out the service via a free account). Perhaps the novelty could wear out soon. This everpix thumbnail catalogue is by default private, and so it should be, but it is very easy to share any photos you like (for example see my alleyways, gates & windows photo page). The warning about using WebP thumbnailsI will admit I have had a couple of glitches, like saying photos could not be displayed at the moment but I did opt to you used the WebP thumbnails and I do get a warning every time I log in to everpix.

I ended up adding another free account on a separate computer to tackle the issue of “taming” my private photo archive. In reality I already use and am happy with picasa to manage and view the jpeg versions of my photos, but I like the idea of being able to browse through a large collection, be guided to the highlights and have some smarts behind the scene grouping and refining what I see. The reality of everypix right now is it may promise something like that yet deliver something a little less utopian. I downloaded the Windows App and set it running.

Fullscreen capture 7082013 10036 PMProbably the most obvious problem I have run into is everpix is not fast (in fact it is very slow, after 10 days I have sync less than half my photos from two year (approx 47.000). I’m patient I’ll let it do its magic, I’d prefer slow and steady and low bandwidth needs anyway.

My photo collection is heavily key worded but I suspect the keywords (and possibly most embedded EXIF metadata) is not being included in the current syncing task, because the only grouping I can see are called moments (photos grouped automatically my time). Also all the photos are loaded in the original camera loaded format (see the tilted horizon lines in the screen capture below). This could be an issue for any “non destructive” photo manager.  Unfortunately everpix does not appear to read any of the picasa processing from the picasa.ini file in each folder in my archive. Since the PC version can not read lightroom I don’t know if the same issue applies with files processed with lightroom. Further at the current time everpix only syncs the jpeg format. When you click down to a single photo the extra information about the photo is on a “pull out” style panel on the left hand side and it only has a very limited set of details taken from the EXIF data, and surprisingly only the top directory level/folder so it is difficult to figure out actually where the photo is located. there are a few simple actions/option you can run and the paper aeroplane accesses the share options. I would like to see a bit more information here, like keywords and clickable links, such as to the original photo.
Example of single photo display
In the meantime I decided to try out Explore, everpix's “image analysis” which promises to group like photos and categories. The topic for PhotoFriday this week was Scenic Wonder.  So I clicked on the landscape and found that every photo had a dean flat horizon, not exactly wonder or even that scenic. Still I like the approach.
Exploring for landscape photos
I was a little disappointed when I tried out the other categories (eg food shown below) Only two of the images actually included food and then only just, yet there are plenty of class plate shots in my photo collection to choose from. I was given the opportunity to help make everpix smarter by submitting feedback for photo that are not accurately analysed but it took me about 10 rejects before I got another picture of food (a fruit bowl). Still I’m keen to see if this is a “crowd sourced” approach that does actually bring real improvment.
Exploring for food photos
So I think there is much promise here, only for me it falls short of my expectations. I’m still quiet puzzled why there isn’t a slideshow, an embeddable linking system, face recognition, geocoding, formal seach (or find) dialogue box    … ok I have a long list of desirables. Still I think everpix has great potential and for me on a chrome browser the photos where deiplays fast enough and smoothly, better than flickr at the moment. As a different way to collate, keep track and make sense of your on-line photo collection its worth a try now. To bring order to a mass of photos on your computer you will be currently better served but tradition photo management software like picasa or lightroom, and perhaps use everpix as a fun way to change your view.

One thing I did notice was that Michael Herf (one of the co-founders of Picasa) was a key investor in the everpix project and I get the impression that there is a deep respect and passion for photography in the everpix team. I wish then well but they have some work to do.

PS Unfortunately everpix is shutting down
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