Tonido Photos – Private Photo Sharing Desktop-to-Desktop

In our continuing roundup of Tonido applications, we covered Tonido Jukebox and Tonido Webshare. The third application that is part of the initial Tonido Beta is Tonido Photos, which we will cover in more detail in this post.

One of the most common things people do using the internet is share pictures with each other.  For example, Facebook alone hosts more than 10 billion photos, with Photobucket around 6 billion and Flickr weighing in about 2 billion (a year ago). That is a lot of photos, considering the fact that worlds population stands at 6.7 billion. That is about 3 photos for each person in the world! And we only considered 3 photo sharing web sites. There are countless more.

There are two primary reasons photos are shared. One, as a way to show off your photographic skills, tell a story(journalism, photo blog) or to show something interesting to the world. The second one is to share your life events with a closed group of friends and family. Sites like Photo.net, Flickr, photoblogs etc aim to satisfy the first scenario while, Google’s Picasaweb, Facebook and other more traditional sites target the second scenario. In both cases, the ability to comment, tag, rate adds another dimension of interaction.

Irrespective of the reason, photo sharing is done by uploading photos to a photo hosting site and in the case of the second scenario notifying friends and family by sending a link to the photo site.

This works reasonably well but with several caveats:

1. Photos are never private. They go to a third party site. Do you know who else is looking at it? Do you know what happens to them after you remove them?

2. Photo uploading is still a painful ordeal. Trying to take a full sized jpeg from your run-of-the-mill digital camera which is about  2 MB in size and then uploading them is not fun. If you want to resize them before uploading, it is even less fun. This is going to get worser as digital cameras are still running the megapixel race, taking pictures at high resolution is pretty much useless unless you are going to print, because it becomes impractical to share large pictures easily without spending lots of time babysitting uploads.

3. A subset of people who do view the photos want a copy of the photos in their hard disk for later viewing. There are several reasons for such a requirement. Some don’t have 24×7 internet connection, so they would like to view the photos even when offline. And some want to add the photos to their photo collections.

4. Every comment/rating/tag on a photograph is in public domain in one form or another and stays in circulation long after the photograph is removed by the user.

5. Photos can only be shared in jpeg format in most cases. If there is a need to share large uncompressed raw formats then specialized services would be needed to do that task.

Introducing Tonido Photos

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Tonido Photos gets rid of these caveats by taking a different tack on photo sharing. Instead of involving the photo hosting site, it makes photo sharing private and direct. When you share photos via Tonido Photos, photos are sent directly and securely via the Tonido network to other Tonido users directly to their desktop.

Some of the features Tonido Photos are:

1. Ensures the privacy of  your photos. Photos are directly transferred from your machine to whom you have shared with. Photos never are seen by anyone else.

2. Avoids photo uploading. Just drag and drop new subfolders inside a folder shared within a group and Tonido photos does the rest. There is nothing else to do.

3. Users get a copy for archiving. The copy resides locally because Tonido photos will transfer the photos directly to your computer. You don’t have to be online to view your photos.

4. Organize photos. Photos are automatically organized by user, group, tag. So it is easy to look up any photo.

5. Unlimited size. Since photos are transferred from the owner to members of group, there is no photo size limit.

6. Comment, rating and tag capability. Photos can be tagged, rated and commented. The tags, comments and rating are available to the members of the group. Now you have the power of online applications such as flickr, photo.net with the privacy of desktop applications!

7. Search capability. Tonido Photos has powerful search feature to look up photos by comments, tags and names!

Getting Started

The first thing you want to do is share a specific photo folder with a Tonido Group. Note, that a Tonido group is nothing but a group of Tonido users running on different machines that are connected to each other. You can create a new group or reuse an existing group.

The second thing..err, actually there is no second step. You are done!

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Tonido photos pushes the contents of your shared photo folder to the members in your Tonido group. When you make a change to a photo or add new photos or sub-folders, the changes are seamlessly synced to other Tonido instances. Tonido photo transmission occurs using the Tonido Network, which is a peer-to-peer network. It requires no configuration or setup. Note, that Photos ensures that only members of the group that you have shared photos with actually get the photos and no-one else.

Resizing is for Dummies

Photos works with full sized images. It will automatically work with images without imposing any silly size limits or resolution limits. Now you can fully share your glorious 21 megapixel image from your 5D MKII so that your family can make a huge blowup. The only limit is the space in your hard drive. And for ease of use, Photos will generate smaller thumbnails and reasonable sized slideshow images automatically from the large image. But the full size image is just a click away if you need it. Note that photos formats [png, jpg, tiff, cr2, crw, nef, bmp, ps] will be transferred to the members of the group but the photos browser based UI will only display jpeg images.

Faster Downloads similar to Torrent

Tonido Photos allows users to download photos not only from a single person, but from multiple people in the group if they already have that photo. So, say if you are downloading photos from someone in a group, if that same photo is also available with other members in that group, your photos will reach you faster as transfer is invisibly done from multiple members at the same time. So your download speed will not be limited by the upload of a single member in a group.

Interaction Capabilities

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Photos gives you the same set of tools to discuss and communicate about photos as you find in any photo sharing site, like Photo.net or Flickr. You can comment and discuss photos. You can rate photos and also tag photos. In short, you can still do the same things you do on most photo sharing websites. Photos also provides activity streams, that allows you to see who has done what. Every comment, every rating generates an entry in the activity stream; so you never miss a thing.

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Organizing Capabilities

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Photos offers a rich set of capabilities to slice and dice photos received from others. You can choose to view photos (and slideshows) by a specific user, in a specific date range, or from a specific group. You can mark certain photos as “favorites”, so you can quickly view them later. You can tag photos, and retrieve photos with a specific tag. All these help users keep up with the huge amount of photos that can start arriving. Of course built-in search is available. You can also browse photos that are  top rated, recently comment, recently received etc!!

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Controlling Tonido Photos

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With such an effortless way to transfer photos, it becomes extremely important to finely control the photos that do come in. Tonido Photos allows you to set size limits on the total amount of photos that can be downloaded to your hard drive. Additionally, you can delete received photos and it will never re-retrieve them unless new photos have been added or existing photos are changed! Not only that, you can selectively block a certain Tonido member who is in your group and your photos will not reach him nor will his reach yours.

If you want your photos to reach and be adored by millions of people, Tonido Photos might not be for you, but for the rest of us who value privacy, we think that Tonido Photos is a great alternative.

Like what you see? Get Tonido.

2 Responses

  1. [...] our continuing roundup of Tonido applications, we covered Tonido Jukebox, Tonido Webshare and Tonido Photos. The fourth application that is part of the initial Tonido Beta is Tonido Workspace, which we will [...]

  2. [...] Tonido se découpe en quatre modules bien distincts : le Tonido Photos, le Tonido Jukebox, le Tonido Webshare et le Tonido Workspace. Au passage, on remarquera la [...]

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