Publishers often need to add images to articles that appear on their Web sites. Unless the publisher has a specific photo taken from the location of the story, that means searching a number of different photo sharing sites such as Google Images, Flickr, TwitPic, PhotoBucket, and others. Once the picture is found, you have to click through to see the full size image, right click to download it, then choose Import to paste it onto the site, and make sure you have the copyright clearance to use it. It’s all a very time consuming process.
What if you could do all this in 2 steps? That’s the idea behind Ginipic, a small startup with a big idea. Enter a search term and the Ginipic application crawls 15 different web-based photo sharing application. The software then presents the results on a single screen.
That’s already a big improvement from Google’s image search, which only displays a maximum of 25 photos on a page, requiring users to click the “Next Page” button repeatedly.
Ginipic will even search your own computer.
Once you find the image you want, simply drag and drop it into the application you’re using. Ginipic is designed to work “side by side” with other programs to help eliminate switching back and forth between screens.
Ginipic shows copyright details and a photo’s Creative Commons status to keep you from inadvertently infringing (a dollar sign and a large “Buy Now” button appear when an image isn’t free).
Ginipic is entirely free right now and, unlike other web services that pitch a paid premium version, the company’s business model is to cut “white label” deals that will give an existing photo sharing site Ginipic’s functionality but with the partner’s branding. Those deals will be in the $10-30,000 range in order “to bring the product to market as fast as possible,” CEO Lior Weinstein told me.
Ginipic is not a web application but a download and it works on Windows only (bad news for all the creative types and increasing numbers of students who use Macs).
Ginipic is not without competitors. Meta-search services like Copernic have been around for years, and Microsoft Office’s Clip Art tool is already built into Word (“although no one uses it,” Weinstein mused). Other sites, such as CoolIris, are more about enjoying images online than searching them, Weinstein pointed out.
So far, in the 9 months since Ginipic launched, it’s signed up over 100,000 users “on $0 advertising,” Weinstein said. Approximately 25 percent of those are active users.
Among the services with which Ginipic works are DeviantArt, Flickr, Picasa, Google, Fotolia, Bing, PhotoBucket, SmugMug, Yahoo, Dreamstime and Crestock.
Brian Blum heads Blum Interactive Media, a consulting firm that creates multimedia content for social media: blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, research and more.