With Hanukkah candles already flickering, and Christmas trees decorated around the world, Piictu would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays! May your evenings be merry, your family reasonable, and your friends entertaining!
But if things get dodgy over the new few weeks, fear not. The latest Piictu release features “Special Holiday Integration" designed to help you "Escape tedious family or office scenarios with our creative winter wonderland :)"
Piictu is going global. With the release of our holiday update, language localization is now available in Spanish and German. This means that users whose phones are set to those languages will find Piictu app text rendered in the tongue of Goethe or Cervantes for the very first time.
For the linguists at Piictu HQ, Spanish and German are just the beginning. We hope to offer localization in several other languages over the next few months. After all, Piictu’s downloads come from around the globe!
And while we do confess that there might be an odd phrase or misspelling in the localizations (we’re only human!), we’re thrilled to begin making the app more natural for more users.
If you haven’t got your holiday gifts in order, now is the time. Order deadlines are fast approaching.
To help you out, the Piictu brain trust has collected two days of Gift ideas for the iPhoneographer in your life. Today, we conclude our suggestions with a bunch of fun accessories for anyone interested in photography.
We had a great stream about laptop stickers a few weeks ago. But a few people chimed in complaining that they didn’t have any stickets on their machines. So grab a Camera Dial Decal ($18). It will have your comp looking like an oversized control knob from a Canon or Nikon SLR.
The coffee mug that looks like an SLR lens ($24/$30) has been hip for a while now. But why not be more social with a Shot Glass set ($18)? It gives new meaning to the shutterbug phrase ‘taking a shot’ (ooooh!).
It’s decided old school, but reports suggest that books are still cool. Why not help a friend learn from the masters of the craft with 50 Photographers You Should Know ($14). It will take you from Muybridge to the 21st century with crisp writing and, of course, wonderful images. The Art of iPhoneography ($13) is a little out-of-date, but still offers step-by-step workflows that will show a less experienced iPhoneographer how to get started.
Feeling peckish? Why not make some photo-friendly cookies with these colorful camera cutters ($18)? You can enjoy them while relaxing on new lens pillows ($59) and propping your feet up on this awesome oversized camera (€168). Yeah that last one is a bit expensive, but it’s from Barcelona so you know it’s cool.
Relaxed by the fire with all your gifts ordered? Great. Now’s the time to make a Leica out of paper. (£3).
That concludes our Holiday Gift Guide for 2011. We hope you’ve found some stuff worth sharing with friends. Do remember to tip your friends off to Piictu as well. We know it’s a gift that keeps giving.
It’s that time of the year when you try to give people stuff they will use, enjoy, and not return or re-gift. Fortunately, the Piictu staff has some hot suggestions for the iPhoneographer in your life. Trust us, this is kind of our job.
Yesterday, we started our Gift Guide with a look at some rocking apps. Today, we’ll be considering that instantly upgrade your iPhone.
Don’t be a fool. Wrap your tool in a hard-knock case, so whatever you do, you iPhone stays safe. Lifeproof cases ($79.99) are built to Military Specifictions (whoa.) and will work up to 2 meters underwater. Custom cases from Zazzle ($34.95) let you add a message and/or personal image. Probably good for inside jokes. Finally The OWLE rig ($169.95) will make your iPhone look and operate like a Hollywood production lens. Good luck Spielberg.
Annoyed by the limits of the standard iPhone lens? Get in close with a macro lens band ($15) or go wideangle/starbusty with a three-way jelly lens set ($15). Feeling more adventurous? Why not get a Kogeto lens ($79) that captures your entire surroundings. They even have special software for making interactive panoramaic videos.
We don’t really see the need for an iPhone SLR lens mount ($249) but maybe you do. Just let us know what it’s like taking a phone call with your 300m zoom strapped on.
The Piictu Gift Guide for iPhoneographers will conclude tomorrow with a set of fuzzy, funny, and friendly accessories. Like what you’ve seen? Got suggestions? Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.
Deck the halls and start a stream about it. It’s the season of crowded shopping malls, raucous office parties, and family feuds partly involving indoor evergreens.
But don’t get stressed. Team Piictu is here to help in this busy season of joy. Let us tap our collective knowledge to offer you the ultimate guide to gifts for the iPhoneographer in your life.
It’s clear that you should start with Piictu. But of course you already have that downloaded. Good on you.
Have you got SnapSeed? It’s a bit expensive at $4.99, but it’s well worth it. The app will create deliciously fatigued and desaturated images, while also offering rich filters and textures.
Want to combine multiple images into a single frame? Diptic ($0.99) and PicFrame ($0.99) are your best bets.
What about those times when a complete view is more powerful than any single shot? Try PhotoSynth, one of the greatest things Microsoft has made in years. It will create panoramas so detailed you’ll find hidden details in captured images months later.
Need to add some text to your images? LabelBox ($0.99) creates little snippets of texts on ribbons superimposed to your iPhone photos. But Phoster ($1.99) is the far more elegant text tool, allowing you to craft stunning posters from your camera roll.
The Piictu Gift Guide for iPhoneographers will continue tomorrow. Stay tuned!
With today’s rocking Piictu update, users can now sort streams by likes or friends. It’s a whole new way to look at piics, offering easy access to things that will wow you and make you smile.
Of course, streams will still default to chronological viewing with the most recent images right at the top of streams. To switch the filter, tap the ‘bar graph' icon in any stream, and then tap the filter of your choice. The stream will reload with sorted as specified.
As of Thursday, the great month of #Movember has come and gone. But the traces of this hairy pseudo-month are all over Piictu. One user (above) challenged the community to like his photo with every like equating to a dollar towards the men’s charity.
Others patiently let their peach fuzz become lip shadows and then, perhaps, something like real mustaches. Piictu’s own Zack took up the challenge from the Piictu community and managed a feeble goatee-mustache combo.
Those unable or unwilling to actually grow a mustache played with the idea of it nonetheless. We were rather partial to this young lady’s mustache pint glass. The best of Piictu #Movember will live on in glory, even as the razors and shaving cream come out for the Holiday season.
For those bored on the road, in planes, buses, or trains, here’s a little Piictu entertainment tip: Make a HandTurkey. They are both festive and simple. Channel your inner 6 year-old self.
For those hosting and cooking, a convenient stream of Thanksgiving Supplies has cropped up with more than a few succulent dishes from Piictu family menus.
Here at Piictu HQ, the holiday spirit has us excited to launch a Thanksgiving contest. In “Stuffed or Stuffing" we challenge the community to show us their turkeys, their silly stuffing gags, and their stuffed faces after the good bird has come and gone.
All this reminds us exactly what we’re thankful for here at Piictu HQ…
Where would we be without the awesome people who share great photos and start fun streams?
Last week, the New York Tech community traded its signature jeans and t-shirts for high fashion. The exchange was part of Raise Cache, a one-night fashion fundraiserfor Hack NY.
To support the creative mission of the night, Rachel Sklar penned a wonderful rewrite of P!nk’s “Raise your Glass.” It was called “Raise your Cache” and we think it offers a succinct, playful version of what life in the New York Tech scene looks like.
How do we know? Well, we’re in it. Twice. Look for a Piictu dance line at 1:03 and again at 2:42.
So what kind of awesome changes can you expect? Many.
1. INCREDIBLE new Activity tab
Tracks your total number of likes, replies to your streams, and followers all from a single location. Tapping thumbnails now brings you directly to the image liked or replied. Stream additions are previewed on the spot. Distinct texture break shows you what’s new since your last visit.
2. SWEET new Stream and Reply functions
When you share an image, there’s a new image preview screen to make sure that piic looks just right. You can also hold over the obscured image while you finalize the title and add friends to confirm how good it looks.
3. EASILY add photos to existing streams
Making a new stream but not sure if it someone has already started a similar one? Now Piictu automatically searches for relevant streams in real-time so you can build on an existing stream. Tap on the blue arrow to see what kind of photos are already in those streams.
4. QUICKLY Mention friends
Friends are now alphabetically sorted to make finding someone quick and easy. You can also pull in friends not on Piictu yet from your Address Book. So go ahead… be friendly.
but wait, there’s MORE
That’s just the big stuff. There’s a host of wonderful fixes, animations, and clever tweaks that have found their way into Piictu 1.2.
Go ahead a like a piic on the new app. Yeah… pretty sweet right?
With our headquarters in New York City, it’s easy to think of Piictu as an American-oriented product. But that’s wrong in at least two directions. First, our development team is currently scattered across three continents and second, our downloads have been wonderfully international.
In fact, over the last month of downloads Italy has racked nearly 14% of the global downloads, topping the US by a full 5%.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden round out the top five collecting 20% of global downloads between the three.
The top 10 pulls in Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Turkey, and India.
There’s never a shortage of fashionable people on Piictu. Decked out for a night on the town, or just modeling their hoodies, Piictu users are always sharing their sense of style.
So three weeks ago, inspired by the community, we decided to initiate “#FashiionTuesday.” We invite one fashion-forward member of the community to develop a fashion stream or challenge, and we promote it to the top of Piictu popular for the day.
:: Jon presenting Piictu from Courtbean on Flickr (cc 2.0)
Yesterday, Piictu co-founder Jon Slimak lit up the stage as he presented Piictu. The five minute exhibition ran through Piictu’s origin, growth, and future potential as a part of TechStars “Demo Day" - the dramatic, pitch-or-die conclusion to the intensive start-up incubator.
Jon’s presentation featured some startling admissions: even his mom knows what planking is, and razors can be used to take some really clever photos. But the heart of pitch lay in celebrating the way Piictu has made users interact. Staying true to the app and its powerful creativity, all of the images and examples were taken directly from the Piictu platform.
Perhaps inspired directly by Piictu, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg followed Jon on the TechStars stage. His message: New York is quickly becoming one of the world’s most vibrant tech hubs. As if we didn’t know that already. Has he downloaded Piictu yet?
P.S. The best of Demo Day has been captured, appropriately, in a Piictu stream. Take a look.
Andrew Mitchell has been drawing his followers from across his social media profiles for the past few weeks. He manages to capture the identity inherent to avatar images while adding his own distinctive style. In a sense, Andrew interprets the avatar image to make it personal again. It becomes a gift between himself and his followers.
It hasn’t been easy. As of October 3rd, Andrew has sketched over 200 of his followers. It’s been taking a solid chunk of his time, and utterly exhausted his collection of ballpoint pens. In fact, Andrew has found himself occasionally returning to his Iceland home with new ballpoint ‘friends’ from the local bank.
When we discovered this at Piictu HQ, we hurriedly mailed off a set of fresh Piictu pens. They had only recently arrived at Piictu, but we could think of no better recipient than the man whose portraits were causing an explosion of activity from Piictu users.
For several days, we waited to hear something from Andrew confirming the emergency shipment of art supplies. But there was only e-mail silence. Then last Tuesday Andrew told us that the pens had arrived, but had been seized by the oppressive Icelandic customs authority. He waited out their demands for a $50 fee, and was able to collect the pens a few days later.
Andrew’s project captured our imagination at Piictu, prompting us to add new features on his suggestion. When Andrew messaged us about his need for full-screen avatar images, we added it into our very next update. It was the least we could do to accommodate his creative project.
There are over 200 images of Andrew’s followers to date. The artist insists he’ll do 700 more and that’s no formal limit. His dad thinks he’s crazy and that he’s given himself “ a job for life. And one that doesn’t pay.”
But he’s undeterred. He gets a boost of energy whenever he hears someone is happy with the result. On a flight from Iceland to London, Andrew finished 40 drawings on the plastic tray table. A passing hostess nudged him as he finished a drawing.
Popular streams are Piictu’s daily Academy Awards. They elevate a set of photos to the highest pantheon of praise, making them champion examples of photo interactivity.
But with hundreds of streams started everyday, how do you make a stream that stands out? In an effort to de-mystify Piictu popular, we’ve reached out to some of our more successful users and learned some pointers on creating stunning Piictu streams.
Piictu all-star sh0e_wh0re has had several popular streams on Piictu including “jumping" and "how are u spending ur day.” She tells us “the best streams are the simple ones. The ones anyone can relate to and that it’s not gonna take us out of our way to contribute too as we all lead fairly busy lives.”
TylerDiane is another popular stream fiend whose “Half your face" and "stalker that I <3" streams were some of Piictu’s users favorites. She suggests that users" try to do something creative and not used yet.” “You need to know what the community likes" she continues, adding that streams where "you can take a picture with your friends, self, boyfriend/girlfriend, mom etc" are easy to engage and can spawn many piics from the same user.
The only advice Piictu HQ would add is to make sure you put more than one image in a stream. Posting three or four really gives people an idea of what you’re hoping to see. Then remember to revisit the stream and like others’ additions. Everyone likes a little love, and with some luck, your lovely stream will be Popular before you know it.
How well do you know your lyrics? Could you recognize a tune by the words alone? More importantly, could you continue the song?
Let’s try an experiment: I write the opening words of a well-known punk song but do not name it. I give two lines and ask for handwritten responses only because handwriting contains such personality. Let’s say I start a Piictu stream just after lunch. What are the chances that someone out there will know the words? What are the chances they’ll write back?
Very High. In just a few hours, 19 other Piictu users scribbled lines of the All-American Rejects song on post-it notes and boxes and notebook pages. Each was in perfect sequence continuing the poetry of Rejects’ singer Tyson Ritter. It was music to our ears! You might not have heard the music, but you could see all the words.
After a busy summer, Piictu is finally out of beta! To celebrate the occasion, we’re thrilled to announce the release of a big app update. We’ve been listening to user feedback, testing out some new ideas, and integrating keys functions that will make Piictu more fun and easy to use.
So, What’s New?
Search for users, streams, and piics
Five tab navigation bar
New following tab, showing the piics of people you follow
Share piics & streams instantly to facebook and twitter
Optimized friend finder gets you connected to people you know
Fast notifications let you know right when things happen (you can choose which notifications to receive by logging in)
When you’re hungry, it’s best to avoid the delicious images of cakes, sushi, burgers, cookies and hot pizzas that fill Piictu streams like “Food Pornography” and “always room for dessert.” They’ll get your mouth watering and then leave you unsatisfied. Especially as much of the most amazing looking Piictu food is home-made from secret recipes that are never shared along with the scrumptious piics.
Last week, I saw these apricot and raspberry cookies from Team Piictu member katiedreed and knew I had to get the recipe. So I reached out with “hello!” “how you doing?” and “how do you make these beautiful cookies?” Katie generously responded with no but two delicious recipes. Go preheat the oven, it’s time to bake magic.
Thanks Katie … I’ll pass along the recipe to my nutritionist over our next stern conversation.
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (I did half raspberry and half apricot)
Ingredients for the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole in the center of each ball, using your thumb and finger, and fill the hole with preserves.
Bake for 14 to 18 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, 3/4 teaspoon almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
Ingredients for the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in milk.
P.S. The Piictu staff is not responsible for rapid and uncontrolled cookie consumption. Take it up with this guy.
Last weekend, while Hurricane Irene pounded the East Coast of the United States, inventive housebound Piictu users shared their storm experiences in real-time through a Piictu “Hurricane Irene” stream.
The conversation began with images of preparations. Businesses prepared their properties for the elements. Liquor vendors pitched wine as emergency supplies. Supermarket shelves were cleared out. Owners warned that they would not be open over the weekend.
Then the first drops fell. If you were following the stream in real-time, you could use Piictu alone to track the progress of the storm. As users sent well-wishes to all those under the clouds, photos came in of intense lightning strikes, beach erosion, and downed trees.
In just over 2 days, 100 Piictu users shared 139 images of the way Irene affected their lives. It was awesome to follow. People were pretty adventurous, stepping out into the carnage to share wild images. But of course, it was just one stream among many. The Silly Dogs stream, for instance, offered a welcome escape from grim flooding and blown-out power lines.
We’re pretty damn excited and you should be too! We’re proud sponsors of the NYC Photo Hack Day that will go down August 20th and 21st in General Assembly, NYC.
A bunch of amazing developers and designers will get together for two days and work on building a set of photo apps using APIs from 500px, Foursquare, Instagram, SmugMug, Tumblr and… (drumroll)…yes, Piictu! You can read more about the event in the Photo Hack Day website.
so why the extra excitement? The winner of the hackathon will have their app displayed on NASDAQ’s Times Square Billboard (seriously!). 2nd, 3rd, and People’s Choice winners will also receive cash prizes!
To get your mind going, check out some cool hack ideas, including the ones we’ve proposed.
If you’re a coder or designer, and want to join, register here. The whole piictu team will be there (with serious plans of drinking some beer) so come say hi! :D
At the piictu headquarters, we get a ton of enjoyment by seeing our awesome users having fun with our product. To return the favor, we’ve decided to give you and inside look at the piictu office.
The first thing you should know is that piictu is part of the TechStars program. Over 1000 companies apply, and only 12 are accepted. These 12 companies share office space at the TechStars headquarters, which is located right by Union Square in NYC.
As for the piictu space in particular, here are a couple of snapshots from our working area.
Its not all work-work-work, we play ping pong to unwind.
Thats the end of the tour…
We love talking and meeting new people… If you have any questions or comments about the product; or anything in general, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we’ll get back to you asap. If you are in NYC drop us a line well buy you a coffee :)
Piictu featured in @beautifulpixels "Piictu: A Delicious Way to Play with your Photos" by @preshit
Preshit Deorukhkar wrote on Beautiful Pixels “Piictu takes a very interesting approach to your photos and is the only app on the App Store to do this so far” and then goes on to highlight the finger alphabet game being played in the app. We also love that one. We’re proud the UI is getting such good reviews: “there’s no other way to describe the UI than ‘A bunch of delicious pixels got together and the designer wizard waved his magic wand to create a stunningly beautiful UI that you just want to chew on and eat.’” Thanks for the review!
We came a long way since last Summer we started entertaining ideasabout dialogues with pictures. Since then, we fine-tuned the concept, hired a great team, built a prototype, and shipped the product that you can now download from the app store.
This is just the beginning though. We built the simplest app possible that could still provide an excellent user experience. Piictu wants to be a fun + simple way to talk & play with piics and version 1.0 is our first stab at it. Now it’s time to hear your feedback, fix what you don’t like, work on new features, and delight you.
The feedback from our private beta couldn’t be better. Our testers played tic-tac-toe together, shared their favorite drinks or meals, counted to 50, all that through piics. We certainly had a lot of fun in the process and you can now be part of it.
Alan Henry reviewed Piictu on AppScout. Good summary of what Piictu is doing “the service is part photo sharing app and part social network”, or “the goal is to give people a unique and interesting way to share and interact with one another using their photos”. Cool!
First review of Piictu and we couldn’t be more satisfied. How could we with quotes like “it’s five times more useful than the $41 million Color app, and I’m sure the Piictu team would be delighted with $205 million!”? In case you’re asking, the answer is “we would indeed be delighted”.
Last week was a long one as we were trying different approaches to our 1-minute pitch. As always, the second we delivered the pitch we decided we had to change it. We’re never happy with what we have and that’s a good thing.
Anyhow, we wanted to share our first approach to Piictu’s elevator pitch and we are happy to get feedback. Do you think we have a clear message? Does the product come through clearly? And now, the pitch.
I’ll go straight to the point: Photo sharing is lame. You take a bad picture with a bad camera, put heavy make up on it and post it on a wall. And then what?
Piictu addresses the “then what”
Piictu is a mobile application that enables conversations through photos. It’s like a photo orgy on your mobile phone.
Just snap a picture, post it and watch it come to life with photo-replies from friends and strangers.
Just 2 days ago I was in NYC when I heard the big news, so I walked to Ground Zero and took a picture of the crowd. Imagine immediately anyone can see my picture, and I start getting picture responses from the crowd in DC; I also get reactions from people in their homes and from the military overseas; I even get some pictures of people in Pakistan. It’s such a powerful story-telling tool.
We are using our cameras to communicate emotions. Photos are becoming objects of interaction and Piictu enables this trend by unleashing many-to-many communication through this powerful medium.
Piictu has been getting a lot of positive feedback from the community. We currently have 2K signups for our beta and we’re going on private beta tomorrow.