Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
Photobucket–the janky-looking, but still widely-used image-hosting site once owned by News Corp–is debuting a serious overhaul for the first time in years with an emphasis on taking control of the lifecycle of your photos and videos, CEO Tom Munro told Betabeat. With a significant redesign and new privacy controls, Photobucket hopes to best Facebook, Flickr, and the like as your default storage space to organize and share photos and soon “tell stories.”
Photobucket lurched towards a comeback last year when Twitter decided to use its technology to power native photo sharing. However, consumers might be more likely to associate the service, which launched in 2003, with eBay sellers or their LiveJournal or MySpace account. (The company claims that currently Photobucket, which has 10 billion photos, is second only to Facebook in terms of uploads.)
While Betabeat really liked the Foursquare redesign, there was apparently one feature left on the chopping block that had users in an uproar. The “Nearby Friends” feature, which allows users to see what friends in their general vicinity are doing, was knocked out of the redesign, but today benign overlords of Foursquare announced that they’ve brought it back.
Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen announced today on the company’s blog that project pages for the crowdfunding site have gotten a major makeover. Now it will be easier to find information about projects like that sketchy open source game console Ouya. Rejoice!
Though we’re no UI experts, Kickstarter’s original project pages could be described as “cluttered” and “confusing” at best. Mr. Chen hopes this redesign will make absorbing information about projects you might want to back much easier.
After teasing and hinting at a big redesign, Foursquare finally released its new version live today. And we were pleasantly taken aback. It’s a huge improvement. For years, the company has said it was planning on moving beyond the check-in and it looks like that goal has finally come to fruition–with a bolder emphasis on recommendations, discovering new places, and features that encourage interacting with friends and planning what to do in real-time.
Foursquare has cleaned up the clutter in favor of just three tabs: Explore, Friends, and your profile. “We took apart the app and completely rebuilt it,” the company said in a press release.
Link sharing service Bitly angered the Internet earlier this week with a convoluted redesign that obscured one of its most favored functionalities, URL shortening for Twitter. Even Roger Ebert was really mad about it, and if anyone is an accurate portrayal of the zeitgeist, it is clearly him.
Following the debacle, Bitly took to its blog to defend itself against the hoards of furious Internet types, writing, “We’ve clearly heard the concerned feedback of our users who were used to the old bitly and relied on our service for daily usage….We’ll continue to quickly iterate based on what we hear from all of you, so keep the feedback coming!”
For a long time, the Foursquare website has played a vastly inferior second fiddle to the app’s first chair. Which makes sense, right? Foursquare is inherently mobile. Most users rely on the site to see their check-in history and perhaps review their friends lists. But most of the time users like Foursquare because they can passively brag about checking into Occupy Wall Street (99 percent bonus now worth +3), get deals at East Village eateries or find a place to grab drinks in an unfamiliar neighborhood. But it seems Foursquare has been tinkering with ways to make its website more of a draw. Yesterday the startup announced a complete refresh, adding several features that will make foursquare.com much
less pointless more useful. “At foursquare we see the website as an integral part of our product and getting the chance to redesign this from the ground-up was a great opportunity, one that the small redesign team has slaved, sweated and poured a vast amount of our effort into over the last few months,” writes lead designer Sam Brown.
Yes, it has come to this. The Great Google Reader tragedy of 2011 has resulted in a welfare state, with individual designers trying to ensure massive corporations don’t screw things up beyond repair.
Kevin Fox, Google’s former senior user experience design lead–who worked on Gmail 1.0, Google Calendar 1.0, and Google Reader 2.0–is offering to come back to the fold temporarily to help them out in these troubled times.