Sharpcast – Group Photosharing & Auto Backup (Finally!)

Products by on March 7, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Techcrunch and Venturebeat covered the launch of Sharpcast’s photosharing platform. I listed this service as one of the four websites that I wished someone would launch back in January. Sharpcast’s initial offering hits two huge pain points: group photo sharing and automatic backup.

I’ve created an account, downloaded the application and have been playing with it for a few hours. I’m fairly impressed. They’ve approached the photosharing market very differently than the likes of ofoto, snapfish, etc. They focus on “sync”. You install an application on your desktop, and identify which photos to manage through Sharpcast. These photos are then uploaded to Sharpcast’s servers and thumbnails are made available to software on other machines that utilize your login. You can then choose to download full versions of the pictures or just keep the thumbnails.

Group sharing works similarly. Create a group, upload photos, share it. Other people can upload their own photos, add comments, etc. And anyone in the group can get full versions of the photos that were uploaded by other people - no crappy downscaled images.

I do find the UI still lacking in a few areas, and I’m a bit annoyed by a few things on their website and in their product:

  • Buried Price I had to install the application before I could find out the price for full file backups (1500×1200 pixel backups are free). $6 a month. I hate when prices aren’t front and center - it just feels deceptive.
  • Upload vs. Sync. Their website stresses avoiding ‘long uploads’ with their sync-based product. This distinction between sync and upload confuses their offering. Uploads are a component of sync. Yes, sync is far more powerful, but attacking the long upload pain point only seems to confuse the value prop.
  • The UI isn’t intuitive. There are lots of small things that indicate the product is still in need of polish. For example:
    • I can’t drag a multi-tier personal album into a group album
    • A shared personal album and a group album are two different things, and an album does not easily move between the two states.
    • The context menu always seems to under deliver. The menus don’t have the functions I expect them to have.

Anyway, shortcomings aside I’m excited about the offering and will continue to experiment with it.


I may have spoken too soon. Sharpcast crashed while it was in the middle of ‘uploading’ a bunch of pictures. Now I’m getting a ‘Sharpcast Servers unavailable’ error. It looks like they have more issues to sort through than just the UI.


  1. Gibu Thomas — March 8, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

    Hi there,

    This is Gibu Thomas, CEO of Sharpcast. Thanks for your feedback. We are obviously continuously refining the product, so your input is valuable.

    Someone from our support group will also be contacting you shortly to make sure we identify whatever problems you are having.

    I appreciate your patience.



  2. davenaff — March 8, 2007 @ 2:43 pm


    Thanks for the followup. I’m definitely excited by the product.


  3. Gibu Thomas — March 8, 2007 @ 4:10 pm


    I tried to guess your email address and sent you a mail separately to follow up. If you didn’t get it, please email removed and Sean, our star support maven, will assist you directly.

    Please feel free to contact me at removed directly anytime with any questions or feedback.



  4. davenaff — March 8, 2007 @ 11:12 pm


    Thanks for your note. I emailed Sean.

    I also added a contact form to make this easier in the future.


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