/// Under Its Original Owners, Webshots Reincarnates as Smile

October 2, 2012  |  All Things Digital


There are two very different ways to look at this story. First, it’s an incredible tale of entrepreneurs founding, selling, buying, selling, and now buying again the very same company: Webshots. And second, it’s an interesting take on intimate family photo-sharing that automatically sucks up and streams new photos in a nice mobile, desktop and Web interface. Both of those descriptions apply to Smile , a new photo-sharing service debuting today that will attempt to bridge that gap for Webshots’ millions of existing users and potential new ones. There’s not a ton of continuity between the two services, besides that they’re both photo products aimed at the mainstream. Webshots founders Narendra Rocherolle and Nick Wilder have bought back the company with a pretty impressive group of investors: True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Lowercase Capital, Resolute.vc, Biz Stone, Max Levchin, Shervin Pishevar, Greg Yaitanes and Matt Mullenweg. Rocherolle and Wilder are busy running their email infrastructure service Message Bus , so they’ve hired a team to relaunch Webshots as Smile, led by Grouper co-founder Mike Sitrin, who was also previously at Spinner and FYI Living. Smile — which is not yet fully ready to launch — is built around the idea that people are continuously taking photos throughout their lives, but the photos are siloed in different folders and between different people. The desktop app sucks up users’ existing photos into a searchable interface, and the mobile app adds new photos to a shared folder that can be seen in real time by the closest family and friends. Narendra Rocherolle The most obvious use of the new Smile might be in a young family, where both parents might each take their own photos of the kids, and grandparents are interested in seeing everything that gets taken. If everyone in the family has Smile, this all happens automatically and unfiltered. Of course, that requires buying into the Smile system, which is iPhone-only for now. Smile will cost $10 per year and up for photo backup. And there are an increasing amount of alternatives, including other start-up apps and Apple’s new shared photo streams built into iOS 6. Rocherolle called that product “conservative,” in keeping with Apple’s hesitant social strategy. “My big takeaway is that it is buried in the UI, not cross-platform, and it requires active sharing for new ones, so it really isn’t continuous,” he said

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Under Its Original Owners, Webshots Reincarnates as Smile

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/// Under Its Original Owners, Webshots Reincarnates as Smile

October 2, 2012  |  All Things Digital


There are two very different ways to look at this story. First, it’s an incredible tale of entrepreneurs founding, selling, buying, selling, and now buying again the very same company: Webshots. And second, it’s an interesting take on intimate family photo-sharing that automatically sucks up and streams new photos in a nice mobile, desktop and Web interface. Both of those descriptions apply to Smile , a new photo-sharing service debuting today that will attempt to bridge that gap for Webshots’ millions of existing users and potential new ones. There’s not a ton of continuity between the two services, besides that they’re both photo products aimed at the mainstream. Webshots founders Narendra Rocherolle and Nick Wilder have bought back the company with a pretty impressive group of investors: True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Lowercase Capital, Resolute.vc, Biz Stone, Max Levchin, Shervin Pishevar, Greg Yaitanes and Matt Mullenweg. Rocherolle and Wilder are busy running their email infrastructure service Message Bus , so they’ve hired a team to relaunch Webshots as Smile, led by Grouper co-founder Mike Sitrin, who was also previously at Spinner and FYI Living. Smile — which is not yet fully ready to launch — is built around the idea that people are continuously taking photos throughout their lives, but the photos are siloed in different folders and between different people. The desktop app sucks up users’ existing photos into a searchable interface, and the mobile app adds new photos to a shared folder that can be seen in real time by the closest family and friends. Narendra Rocherolle The most obvious use of the new Smile might be in a young family, where both parents might each take their own photos of the kids, and grandparents are interested in seeing everything that gets taken. If everyone in the family has Smile, this all happens automatically and unfiltered. Of course, that requires buying into the Smile system, which is iPhone-only for now. Smile will cost $10 per year and up for photo backup. And there are an increasing amount of alternatives, including other start-up apps and Apple’s new shared photo streams built into iOS 6

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Under Its Original Owners, Webshots Reincarnates as Smile


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