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Demofall gets in on the photo loop

Demofall HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.--With the success of photo sharing services like Flickr on everyone's minds these days, the space is hot--and getting hotter. So it wouldn't have been much of a stretch to expect Demofall to have a photo sharing entrant.

And indeed there was. One of Tuesday morning's presenters at the annual conference, Palo Alto, Calif.'s FilmLoop, offered a unique approach to making image sharing interactive.

Essentially, FilmLoop treats photos and photo streams as something entirely fluid.

The idea is that any user can create a photo loop. Once created, a loop becomes something like a tray of moving images that slide from right to left across the screen, showing each picture and then advancing to the next.

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What makes FilmLoop's service notable is that users can invite anyone else to join their loop. The second person can then view the images from the loop, as well as add their own. That process can be repeated endlessly, so any number of users can join, and contribute to, a public loop.

One application, the company said here, is to aggregate photos based on Web searches. So, for example, a user looking to buy a car could enter search criteria into a site like AutoTrader.com and then create a loop of all the images of cars matching that criteria.

Going a step further, FilmLoop is also aiming to be something of a photo newswire service. It has engaged more than 500 professional photographers worldwide, it said, who will constantly be adding new photos to a gigantic all-topics-considered loop. The images are updated daily or as news breaks, FilmLoop said.

Finally, the company is also going for a partnership model and showed off an initial deal. The company said it integrates with the photo storage service, Photobucket, and that with a single click, any user can see a loop of images from any one of the 31 million existing Photobucket members' accounts.

All told, FilmLoop seems like an interesting idea that could catch on. It's not entirely clear if the newswire element will take hold, though it could be intriguing for news editors who want timely images from news hot spots around the world that more traditional news sources may have ignored.

But it appears FilmLoop's main target is individual consumers, and in order to succeed, the company is going to have to convince the millions of Flickr users and those employing other photo sharing services that a loop is a more advanced way to go. It could be a tall order.