Update 8 a.m. PST January 14: Sorry, I ran out of invitations, but you can request them from Photophlow's home page. Update 8 a.m. PST January 11: I added links to a couple of helpful videos.
For a Web 2.0 powerhouse, Flickr feels awfully Web 1.0. At least that was my conclusion after spending a few hours in the chat rooms of Photophlow, a start-up that grafts a highly interactive experience on top of Yahoo's photo-sharing Web site.
Flickr deserves credit for pioneering what can be done with photos on the Internet beyond merely displaying photos and albums. Flickr advantages include tags that let members sort and search photos, groups for finding like-minded photographers and sharing photos, and maps to sift through pictures geographically.
But Photophlow, which presents a chat room interface to the act of browsing Flickr, makes all those interfaces seem static. For me, the site felt like wandering through a museum with a group of new acquaintances, commenting on pictures as we went from room to room. And some of the rooms featured our own pictures.
The site is invitation-only right now so that Oortle, the start-up behind Photophlow, can keep up with growth. I ran out of invitations, but you also can request one at the site, which is how I got in.
I'm not the only person who's favorably impressed.
'A comfy coffee lounge'"It really changes the way I use Flickr," said Alex Almeida, who publishes the Phat Photographer blog, who described Photophlow with a different metaphor. With its instant interaction, "it really is like a comfy coffee lounge with a big shoe box of photos where people can chat comfortably and pull any of those photos out of the shoebox and discuss them."
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