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Cellblock: Handy group photoblog widget

Cellblock is a live group photoblog service with a useful widget and video support.

Cellblock is an interesting live photo dropbox. Images or videos sent to a user's Cellblock e-mail address are displayed immediately on said user's Cellblock widgets.

Here's a use case: Say I set up a "cellblock" (as each account is called) for a trade show I am attending, and I embed a widget for that show's cellblock in my blog. Then every time I take a camera-phone image from the show and send it via MMS or e-mail to the e-mail address of the cellblock, the photo immediately shows up in the blog's widget. The widget is Flash-based, so readers won't need to refresh the page to see the latest pictures.

Cellblock is nicely configurable. I can make the e-mail address public, so it displays on the widget. Then anybody can post to it. For parties and concerts, this could be a very good way to collect photos and video from multiple people who are at the event. It would also be useful to capture multiple perspectives of an unfolding news event, as it happens. The owner of a cellblock can optionally configure it so he or she must approve images sent in before they show up on the widget.

I just set up the widget at right to show photos of's writers.

Unfortunately, we had problems getting photos sent via MMS to show. Pictures sent via regular e-mail worked fine, but a picture took 20 minutes to arrive from a Helio phone, and we're still waiting for images sent from Cingular.

The idea of a shared photo page isn't original, nor is the idea of an embeddable photo widget. You can configure a photo service like Flickr to do a lot of what Cellblock does. But Cellblock's focus makes it conceptually simpler than a general photo site. It also supports videos, which more "photo" sites will be doing soon. The user interface is not as simple as the site's creator thinks it is, but it's still a useful and very fun service.

See also Slide, Bubbleshare, and Fabrik.