Do I need ubiquitous access to my pictures?

Do I (really) need ubiquitous access to my pictures? Asking this question may sound weird but let’s go into the details.

Not so long ago, your pictures were probably stored in a shoebox, some of them in photo albums. Photo sharing took place when relatives came home or when, back to work, chatting at the coffee machine… Nobody even thought of carrying one’s own photo library at any time or sharing them with anybody down the street.

This has changed in the digital world. As other digitalized media, a picture is not a piece of material any more. A picture now consists of a couple of bytes stored on a local or remote hard drive that can easily be linked to. This has completely changed our relation to the pictures, but did it change our relation to people, to relatives?

We need to consider two kinds of relation to people here. Relation to people I know, and, relation to people I may not know.

Relation to people I know, let’s call them relatives, is based on sharing – sharing emotions, ideas, pictures… But in a managed way – I know who I talk to and with whom I want to share pictures.

Relation to people I may not know is based on discovering. Here, rather than sharing, I may be willing to publish what I want others to know about me, my interests, my ideas, my works, in order to create new relations.

We have here two specific needs. At Koffeeware, we chose to address the relation with relatives first. With relatives, we are on a long term relation and ready to share a lot. An example, your last kid, you don’t want to have to chose which picture to share with them. You want to show them a lot of pictures, more than a lot… And new ones, as often as possible. The digital life also simplifies sharing as it does not require to meet them, we don’t have to wait to share.

More, we think the digital life does not have to impose technologies. Your relatives should be able to watch the pictures using whatever means they like: web pages, mobile phone, personalized home pages, and so on.

Last, thanks to the digital format, pictures are easy to store. A photo sharing solution should also provide a long term storage solution. Because it is good to know the pictures are safe from any failure that may end up in losing them.

This is what we are heading to with recent developments on KoffeePhoto. Not only can you access your pictures from any computer, but you can install a digital frame on your iGoogle or Netvibes personalized home page and you can even access and share your albums while meeting someone in the street using your mobile phone.

So, do I need ubiquitous access to my pictures? True photo sharing requires it.