Picturelife, a photo management and storage service that I’ve been trying since early 2014, has launched a major redesign today that includes a refreshed iOS app, a new website, new plans, and a new free storage tier. While I’m still not sure whether or not Picturelife will become my primary photo management solution (especially considering Apple’s Photos and iCloud announcements at WWDC), I’ve been impressed (as a free user) with the service so far, and today’s updates are noteworthy.
With the new Picturelife, the free plan has been bumped to 8 GB of storage, which should be plenty of space to start trying the service and see if it can fit your photo archival and management workflow. However, like many other freemium services, Picturelife also features a referral system that allows you to earn free space by referring other users to the sign up process with a special link, such as this one (from my account). With the referral system, you can get an additional 7.5 GB of storage, for a total of 15.5 GB of free storage to try Picturelife for an unlimited time with all features unlocked as an individual plan.
With today’s update, Picturelife has introduced new paid plans for individuals as well as family accounts. The Solo plan starts at $5/month (or $50/year) and offers 25 GB of individual storage, while $10/month (or $100/year) will get you a Family plan with 100 GB of shareable storage with family accounts. A new unlimited plan with shared storage is also available today, starting at $15/month (or $150/year).
Picturelife’s plans compare to Google’s $10/user/month of Drive for Work for unlimited storage and $1.99/user/month for 100 GB (with 15 GB of free storage); Dropbox, which offers 100 GB at $9.99/month; and Apple’s upcoming iCloud Photo Library, which will offer plans for 20 GB at $0.99/month, 200 GB at $3.99/month, with tiers available up to 1 TB. With its Unlimited plan, Picturelife will essentially give users unlimited, shareable storage at $12.5/month with a yearly subscription.
Picturelife’s biggest advantage is that they’ve built a terrific dedicated photo product with features for people who want to view their photos and enjoy them, not just stash them away in a folder in the cloud. I’ve written (albeit briefly) about Picturelife’s feature set before, and I continue to appreciate the viewing options for Timeline (a continuously-scrolling stream of photos grouped by date), the Places view (a map that loads all photos with geolocation metadata, unlike Apple’s Photos app), and Memories.
The latter is a feature reminiscent of dearly-beloved Everpix: every day, Picturelife will try to find photos you took on the same day in previous years, which, for me, is always an occasion to remember old moments, faces, and stills of ordinary life that were captured in a photo I had forgotten about.
The new Picturelife app for iOS is a great update with a good-looking new interface. UI chrome has been reduced, with a focus on edge-to-edge photos that, however, doesn’t compromise the functionality of the app.
The sidebar is hidden by default.
A translucent bar at the bottom of the screen lets you switch between the timeline, faces, memories, albums, screenshots, favorites, and, finally, places. I assume that the Places section corresponds to the same view from the Picturelife web app (which hasn’t been refreshed today), but I can’t confirm this as I can’t get it to work right now for my account. The app’s onboarding experience has been revised as well: now, you can start using Picturelife without creating an account to see how the app lets you organize and browse your local Camera Roll. It’s a nice idea, and it should help getting users to sign up more easily.
One of my favorite aspects of the new app is the scrolling timeline, which has been redesigned with a gorgeous new animation and logarithmic scrolling – the faster you scroll, the longer in time you move. I love the zooming effects on the background and how the “light drops” attempt to match the colors of the photos below.
The contextual menu for individual photos has been redesigned as well: tap & hold on a photo, and it will shrink to a thumbnail that you can drag onto option areas for quick actions and management.
New options include an Aviary-powered photo editor, Open In support, and a way to quickly mark a photo as favorite and view it again in the new Favorites section. My only complaint about the gesture-driven selection mechanism is that it doesn’t seem to support multiple selections, and I couldn’t find a way to select multiple photos at once with a separate button.
Picturelife is doing many things right (and I believe it’s become more than a worthy successor to Everpix), but Apple has also shown that they’re going to simplify and improve photo management with iOS 8 and their Photos app. Apple’s solution will always be more integrated than a third-party service like Picturelife, which makes me wonder how my photo management workflow will look like at the end of 2014. I will probably still backup my photos to Dropbox, but will I need a dedicated photo management service after iOS 8? It’s too early to tell right now, but today’s Picturelife updates are solid and they offer some unique features that Apple didn’t announce at WWDC.