Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
This coming Saturday and Sunday, Aviary and General Assembly are hosting the second installment of their baller photo hackathon, often touted as “the world’s largest photo hack day,” though we’re not sure there’s that much competition. At last year’s event more than 175 developers produced 40+ hacks, a number of which were built using Face.com’s futuristic facial recognition technology.
More than 200 developers have already signed up for the second go-round, officially known as Photo Hack Day 2 (Twitter hashtag #PHD2), so you can expect even more hacked-together photo goodness. Like Aviary’s photo editing suite itself, the emphasis now is on mobile development rather than the web. “Sunday demo tickets completely sold out a full week and a half before the event, so we’re anticipating a good, curious crowd,” said Alex Taub, Aviary’s head of business development and partnerships.
Aviary and GA have already announced an impressive roster of speakers for a fireside chat moderated by Aviary CEO Avi Muchnick, including Tumblr’s David Karp, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh. But today they’re ready to talk about the good stuff: prize$$$.
Markus Spiering has, as they say, a good eye. Most of his resume was in mobile before he became a senior product manager for Flickr. In March 2011, he slipped into the head product role, lording over Flickr’s 45 or so employees. “”I have the pleasure to run product management for one of the most exciting web sites in the world: Flickr,” he says on his website. He’s in town for the Photo Hack Day hackathon this weekend, the first small sign of what could be the company’s reinvigorated interest in its audience.
Mr. Spiering is very happy to be making extensive changes to the Flickr interface, the first of which will roll out next week, as he explained in a meeting with Betabeat, Yahoo’s Jason Khoury, and Flickr.com, looking pretty on Mr. Spiering’s Macbook Air.
Mr. Spiering moused over the current photo view. “This is very typical of Flickr,” he said. “Lots of white space, small photos, lots of information around.”
He then opened a new tab to show the spread, completely revamped. Suddenly the photos look more than four times their current size and lie neatly justified on the page, somehow jigsawing together without cropping or changing the order in which they appear.
The new photo view will hit on Feb. 28, Mr. Spiering said, and with it comes a new upload interface. Flickr’s uploading page now looks more like an app than a website. Goodbye, retro blue links. Hello, swoopy drag-and-drop.
One Two Wall Street's Coming For You
The joy of a hack day is the time constraint, the 24-hour crunch that forces coders to get creative and make hard decisions about how much they can really accomplish. At Aviary’s photo hack day yesterday, a very well-attended event that produced over 40 hacks and oodles of prizes, the most used API was from Face.com, an Israeli start-up working on facial recognition.
Connecting to their API allowed a hack to identify Facebook friends and even chart their faces across five emotions (happy, sad, angry surprised, neutral), adding emotional and social depth to projects built on short notice.
Aviary, the start-up behind a suite of online editing tools, is never one to shy away from an open API contest or public encouragement to build killer apps, so it’s no surprise they’re coordinating an upcoming Photo Hack Day at General Assembly. What is surprising is that NASDAQ just signed on as a sponsor. “It isn’t often you hear about stock exchanges getting involved with startups, unless it’s to help them IPO,” notes TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid, who seems to be acclimating to the city’s tall buildings. But we think that might be exactly what they’re after.