Live.pics.io lets you narrate online slideshows in the moment

A Ukrainian startup launches an online service that lets people converse as they peruse a photo gallery together.

The Live.pics.io service lets a group of people across the Internet see and discuss a group of photos.
The Live.pics.io service lets a group of people across the Internet see and discuss a group of photos. TopTechPhoto/Pics.io

Miss the days of real-world slideshows, when your guests would come by to see your vacation photos and hear you tell the story behind the shots? Ukrainian startup TopTechPhoto launched a service called Live.pics.io on Wenesday that aims to reproduce the experience online.

The service works over a private chat room on the Web, but the company plans to launch a Facebook app in a week or two that uses the service, too.

Sites such as Flickr or Facebook are fine for sharing photos, but they aren't set up for a live conversational tour of a photo gallery. Screen-sharing services can help, but they can mean lousy resolution -- the last thing you want while looking at photos.

"Basically, it's live collaborative image sharing: images are accompanied with the voice of the session host in a real-time," said Konstantin Shtondenko, chief business development officer.

To use the Live.pics.io, you drag a batch of photos into a browser window to upload them. The service generates a Web address that you send to the person or people with whom you want to share the photos.

The Live.pics.io instructions are fairly simple -- but at launch, you have to make sure all participants are using the same browser, either Firefox or Chrome.
The Live.pics.io instructions are fairly simple -- but at launch, you have to make sure all participants are using the same browser, either Firefox or Chrome. TopTechPhoto/Pics.io

When the recipient opens the link it'll launch a window showing the photos privately and open a channel for voice communications. When you advance to the next photo, the other person will see it, too -- including support for high-resolution displays such as Apple's Retina models.

The service supports not just JPEG files but, unusually, some raw-format photos from higher-end cameras. That includes raw photos in Nikon's NEF format, Canon's CR2, and Adobe Systems' DNG. Pics.io has developed Web-based software for handling raw photos , which ordinarily require native software such as Adobe Lightroom or Apple iPhoto to decode.

Even though the service doesn't share those high-resolution originals during the slideshow, which would slow things down a lot, you do of course have to upload them before the slideshow is ready, something that could dampen your enthusiasm for a spontaneous slideshow moment.

Right now the service works only on Firefox and Chrome, and people must all be using the same browser. They should be able to interoperate with compatibility improvements in the underlying WebRTC technology for audio and video chat on the Web. Those browser versions are due to arrive in coming weeks.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)