Warner Bros. launches photo sharing service Out My Window
Set to be unveiled by Warner Bros. at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week and to be available to consumers in the spring, Out My Window stores photos online and allows users to share them with carefully curated lists of friends and family members.
Targeted primarily at young parents, it's designed as a new alternative for people who frequently upload and email pictures but don't want to use social networks or Web photo services that can allow pictures to be seen by outsiders.
It's an unexpected offering from the company better known for "Harry Potter" and "Two and a Half Men," but also an example of how blurry the lines are becoming between technology and entertainment companies.
"Photos are a big part of people's media and entertainment life," said Warner Bros. President of Technical Operations Darcy Antonellis. "We are a studio that makes and creates film and television as a part of that media and entertainment system, so we thought of this as a complementary way to engage with the consumer."
Out My Window will initially launch on the Web, Apple tablets and phones, and Google TV, and will be packaged into digital photo frames from Kodak and Technicolor. Other digital devices will be added in the future, as will the ability to share videos.
Antonellis said a business model has not yet been decided upon, but could include subscriptions or one-time fees.
Users can immediately share pictures taken on a smartphone or upload snapshots saved on a computer. They can then select individuals or previously defined groups of contacts who can see the pictures almost instantly. The studio hopes it will be an appealing alternative to people who don't like to email large attachments but aren't comfortable posting photos on Facebook or photo-specific Websites like Flickr and Picasa.
"Our No. 1 target audience is young women and moms who want to stay connected but keep intimate moments within an intimate environment," said Antonellis.
Out My Window came out of a contest held among teams of Warner Bros. technology-focused employees in June to create a new application focused on photos. Three teams of about 10 people came up with applications that were ultimately merged and built upon to create the new service.
"The point was just to take a basic idea and see where it could go," said Antonellis, who oversees technology strategy for Warner. "I didn't have a preconceived notion that it could become a commercial product."
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Screenshots from Out My Window. Credit: Warner Bros.