Myles Lawlor, the Digital Project Manager at Canon Australia presented the new service this morning at Microsoft’s TechEd event. Canon are using a Windows Azure backend to power the service that is “so new it doesn’t even have a name yet”. The problem Canon are really trying to solve is the astronomical growth and collections of digital photographs we’re accumulating. An interesting stat is that 10% of all images have been taken in the last 12 months.
I’ve been shooting digital since 2002 and have accumulated more than 40,000 photos across more than 10 cameras, most of which I never look at because surfacing them in interesting ways is not easy. For storage I have a Home Server, but most users would be storing their precious photos on their PC or laptop hard drives and backups are done when they remember.
The Canon service would allow users to upload their collections using a desktop uploader (available on Windows, Mac, Linux). The uploader will support all the standard image types as well as all RAW formats. This is a differentiator over something like Flickr. One great feature in the uploader is the ability to set the uploads to be done during certain times of the day, great for people with on/off peak caps. There’ll also be a HTML5, drag and drop uploader, so users can visit the service, hit upload and drag and drop files to the browser.
At launch, social sharing will only support Facebook and Flickr, with plans to integrate other platforms soon after. When you connect your social accounts, images from those accounts get pulled down and integrated to your collection, along with associated comments. Canon aims to give you control over the use of your photos across these services as well, something that isn’t easily done.
Canon say they don’t currently have pricing as the service will only go live later this year, but will not contain advertising. A more likely pricing model will be subscriptions. Naturally some consumers will be wary of using an online service for copyright and privacy reasons. Canon says the rights of the photos uploaded to their service will always remain in the hands of the consumer. In terms of security, they have leveraged the ACS feature of Azure to authenticate via oAuth 2.0.
You can signup for the service without a name now at http://Canon.com.au/manage