Shutterfly acquires ThisLife


Photo sharing site Shutterfly has announced its acquisition of ThisLife, a similar photo service that I like a lot. From the press release:

“In the coming months, Shutterfly will layer ThisLife’s technology onto the Shutterfly platform to enable richer storytelling and easier product creation. Consumers will be able to safely and easily preserve, organize and share their memories, regardless of where photos are stored – from Facebook to Picasa to mobile phones.”

One one hand I’m glad for the developers at ThisLife. On the other, more selfish hand, I worry about what this means for my ThisLife account. I don’t want to use Shutterfly, but a statement like “Shutterfly will layer ThisLife’s technology onto the Shutterfly platform” makes me think I’ll have to. I also wonder what will become of the great ThisLife iOS app.

Andrea Johnson of ThisLife sent me assurances via Twitter:

“We plan to continue providing the same great service. Many customers have requested the ability to print. We are excited to be able to respond to those customer requests. We hope you’ll like what you see.”

I hope so, too. Because right now I’m pretty bummed.

Apps I’m using this week, July 11

Here are two apps that have my attention this week.

ThisLife (Web app, iOS)

This snazzy, freemium photo sharing service is compelling. ThisLife‘s most striking feature is its great looks. It presents your photos and videos, which it calls “moments,” along one of two timelines: chronological and favorites [1. Technically your favorite shots are displayed in chronological order, too.]. You can share to popular sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as with individuals. There’s even a Mac uploader that will grab your photos from iPhoto, a camera or other services like Flickr or Instagram.

The free, universal iOS app is just as pretty as the web app and I must say that the face recognition is very effective. It works in the background until it’s searched your entire library. I’m really blown away by how accurate it is.

You can store 1,000 moments for free and after that you can buy a subscription. ThisLife won’t replace iPhoto for Flickr for me, and those looking for anything beyond basic browsing and sharing should look elsewhere. Still, I can’t stop playing with it. ThisLife is compelling and looks really good on the iPad.

Should you pick it up?

Yes. Right now it’s invitation-only, but I got my invite within 24 hours.

Wallabee (Free, iPhone)

Wallabee feels like an attempt to revive a fun aspect of the now defunct Gowalla. Specifically, you “forage” physical locations, instead of checking in, to find items. Collected items can be combined to form new items, earning you honeycomb, which is the game’s virtual currency.

It looks a lot like Gowalla, but unfortunately lacks the fun. Perhaps because it’s been done before, perhaps because it’s so like an app I enjoyed that’s now dead.

Should you pick it up? 

If you really loved that aspect of Gowalla, check it out. If not, pass.