As I stated in a previous post, I checked out Zooomr this past week and now I have returned to expand on my previous brief post. Let me start with one word of advice: just make sure you go to Zooomr with three o’s and not the dirt-bag typo-squater site at the two ‘o’ URL.
One of the strongest features is the ability to easily geotag photos — it is well integrated with Google Maps and doesn’t rely on entering in fiddly GPS coordinates and using third party tools like Flickr does. This feature is a lot of fun to use, much like wikimapia, except you get to add your own photos (not just text).
Great as it is, the geotagging capability still needs a few tweaks because there were a few times that I was tinkering with it that it ‘forgot’ what photos I was geotagging when I got to the end of the process. One huge enhancement for the geotagging capability would be to add a feature that would let you save locations as ‘favorites’ so that you don’t have to go re-find them in the map display constantly. This would be a real time saver for locations that aren’t at a particular address like campsites, hike photos, specific locations inside of parks/national forests.
Another feature that I like is the ability to access various functions right from the thumbnail of an image. When you hover over a thumbnail, it is overlaid with tiny icons that provide the ability to show the geotag info (if available), the ability to lightbox the image (see a larger view) and inspect the details (among other functions). To me this is a well thought out means of reducing page refreshes while providing valuable features in a concise manner.
As you would expect, Zooomr supports the usual tagging functions; though the only opportunity you have to apply tags to more than one image is at upload. In fact, probably one of the weakest areas for Zooomr is the lack of batch editing features and the (current) dearth of bulk uploading tools. Granted, Zooomr 2.0 has only been ‘live’ for less than a week — I am sure the upload tools will be forthcoming. I would especially like to see one comparable to the excellent flickrExport plugin for iPhoto. I poked around a bit and found this info for developers regarding the API for Zooomr. They have taken the open and intelligent approach of adopting the Flickr API to make it easier for developers to support both sites — well done.
SmartSets allow you to make a grouping of all photos with a certain set of attributes (tag, location, etc) making it sort of like a live RSS feed for a given photo attribute. What you don’t seem to be able to do is to create sets of just your own photos, say to group together photos from a vacation or social event.
Oh and of course, Zooomr has all of the feed goodness that you would expect including the ability to grab a feed for an individual, smart sets, specific tags and so on.
The site could certainly use some better explanation around the terms and functions provided. These could be simple links or tooltips right where the term is used. For example, what do they mean by trackback?, zoomertations?, smartsets? What do the color circles on the tagmap represent? Soothing out these minor usability issue will definitely make it easier to on board new users to Zooomr.
As of this writing, they are still providing free ‘pro’ accounts to those who host at least one photo and link to it on their blog. That’s how I got my pro account — thanks guys! The free pro account has certainly made it easier to explore the functionality of the site. I’ve got to say that I have been a dedicated Flickr user for more than a year now and Zooomr 2 has been the first viable alternative that I have found.
technorati tags: zooomr, zoomr, photography, webtools, flickr