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Web-based multimedia suite Aviary invites beta testers

Image-editing community Worth1000 decides to create direct competitors to yet-to-launch Web-based Photoshop, video remix tools, etc.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

The clip above is a demonstration of the newly announced Aviary, a suite of Web tools for tackling "creation on the fly" (the product's motto and URL). You can think of it as having a similar goal for the creative crowd to what Zoho aims to do for organizational productivity: create a diverse set of light but still functional Web-based applications that enable portability and collaboration.

When the suite is final, it will optimally include more than a dozen applications, each named after a different kind of bird. Each one will handle a different niche of multimedia editing, from typography to audio editing to monetizing the content you create. (Think CafePress.com on steroids). They'll all be compatible so that you can use multiple applications on the same Aviary project, and you'll be able to collaborate with other Aviary users, Google Apps-style.

I know what you're thinking: wow, that's ambitious.

And it is. I saw an in-person demo of the first Aviary application to exit the gates, image editor Phoenix, and I was very impressed by the functionality and speed of the program. But you really can't deny that this is a tough market to enter, as video remix tools and Web-based versions of big-name applications pop up left and right.

The catch is that the folks who make up the team behind Aviary have a pretty unique kind of experience under their belts: they're the same people who run Worth1000, the photoshopping community that stresses artistic expertise over comic value. (No Microsoft Paint here.) That means that while developing Aviary, they've had access to years of direct experience with the Web's creative community. They also now have a loyal pack of early adopters for their new products.

Aviary's success may indeed depend on having those skilled beta testers on board to help shape the new suite into a robust set of applications and spread buzz about it across the rest of the Web.

The beta test of Aviary's first two applications, Phoenix and color swatch tool Toucan, is invite-only, but you can put your name in the hat here. The next Aviary application to be rolled out will be vector editor Raven, with the rest to follow over the next few months.