Pixable already does a nice job of aggregating your friends photos and videos on Facebook (though you may remember it originally offering photo albums–real printed ones–based on your social feeds). Now, it’s stepping into an even more real-time domain by integrating Twitter into its code. It taps directly into Twitter’s own photo service, as well as third-party ones like TwitPic, yFrog, Instagram, and YouTube then pulls them into a single feed which you can browse.
The press release asserts it’s the “first way to visually explore the photos and videos shared through tweets” and its CEO and cofounder Inaki Berenguer is quoted saying “There is currently no way” to do this from Twitter. There is a way, of course, which is to dial through your tweet stream in Twitter’s native page or in a third-party app, but you have to filter the individual photos and videos out from the text yourself.
By separating them out into a slickly organized feed of its own, Pixable turns your Twitter stream into a wholly image-based experience, and that’s actually quite a different use case–particularly as you can see when your friends are being arty and using Instagram, or reporting on something they’ve seen more directly with a sharing service like TwitPic. We imagine it’ll appeal to serious Twitter users who find it fun to view images rather than Twitter’s continuous flow of text-based status updates. And in times when Twitter’s being used to break and spread news, such as the surprise East Coast earthquake this week, it could be an invaluable tool for quickly gaining access to imagery and video from the scene of events.
Cofounder and COO Andres Blank explained to us that this is very much the plan for Pixable: “We plan on even being more pertinent, being able to pull in photos from a variety of places such as Google+, and possibly even public Facebook photos if those become available via the API soon,” he noted. It’s simple: “We want to be the destination to enjoy and discover social photos (photos shared by friends), and by being the central hub for that will enable us to provide the most comprehensive and personalized real-time look at the world.” Blank also isn’t worried that Twitter will pull one of its usual tricks and retract the ability for Pixable to do this, before launching its own version of a similar service: “We believe that Twitter will never be able to only focus on photos and videos as we do, this gives us a unique advantage to be able to make the user experience completely tailored to visual media.”
The benefit of integrating Twitter for Pixable is that it really does sample this real-time news stream better than Facebook does, and Twitter’s open “broadcast” nature means that you can quickly gain access to imagery from people who you wouldn’t consider friending on Facebook’s more insular network. The importance of the Pixable experience is also, Blank feels, because a “photo can certainly communicate faster than words.” The move comes with perfect timing too: Twitter is busy putting more emphasis on photos and videos shared through its network, with a live feed of your own images on your homepage.
Apple’s iOS 5 software for the iPhone and iPad is also due imminently, coming with deeply woven Twitter connections which will surely see an explosion of sharing photos and videos via Twitter. This could create an interesting situation regarding Facebook, which Andres suggests is the “800lb gorilla here,” and all the different social photo sharing apps that have emerged: “This fragmentation is exactly the problem we are setting out to solve.”
[Image: Flickr user robboudon]