Sunday, February 27, 2011

App review: Photoverse for iOS

Photo credit: Background by Ewan Thot; Photoverse logo used with permission.

Happy Monday!  I've got a great way to limit your productivity for today :) 

As photo enthusiasts, our need for information about photography -- techniques, latest news, latest gadgets -- is almost unlimited.  Wouldn't it be great we I could get all that information in one source?  That's the premise behind Photoverse, an app for iOS (and soon, Android as well).  Photoverse gathers information from a variety photo-related news and blogs and presents them in an organized way.  It's a simple idea but challenging to execute because of the multitude of sources out there on the web.

More after the jump.



Photoverse doesn't include literally every photo-related source out there but it does have most of the sites that I follow -- certainly all my favorites, and plus many that I weren't aware of.  The list will keep growing as the app gets updated.  The sites that are included uniformly had high quality content and they all have a good chance of making you forget whatever it was that your spouse asked you to buy at the grocery.

Prior to Photoverse, I relied on Google Reader to keep track of the many blogs that I follow.  What's the difference with using Photoverse?  Glad you asked.

First, Photoverse already comes with dozens of photo-related websites.  The authors of Photoverse are photo enthusiasts just like us, so the sites they picked for Photoverse are pretty much the same sites that we're interested in.  I haven't taken the time to count the number of sites they have on Photoverse but I can say that their list dwarfs my Google Reader list.

Second, Photoverse has its own viewer, which presents sites in a way that's similar to how the page would appear in Safari.  In comparison, Google Reader shows a view that is more spartan.  Below are screen shots comparing Safari, Photoverse and Google Reader.

Safari:


Photoverse:

Google Reader:

Third, Photoverse provides more options for sharing articles of interest, including Facebook, Twitter and bookmarking the page.  Note: The bookmark is just that -- it doesn't create an offline copy.


ORGANIZATION

Photoverse organizes the information in a few groups, accessible by tabs on the bottom of the screen.  The first group is the reverse chronological order, showing the most recent articles first.  This is a good way to see the latest information anytime.  This group is customizable to some extent.  I can't add sites of my own choosing, but I can choose which sites among those in Photoverse are to be included in the feed for the most recent articles.  Note: If you want a site to be included in Photoverse, the authors are open to suggestions.

The second group has news-related sites while the third group is for blogs.  The blogs are organized by topic:

  • Photographers' Blogs
  • Photography Tutorials, Articles and Inspirations
  • Photo Cast (photo-related podcasts)
  • Photography Lighting
  • Postprocessing and Tools
  • Photo Hosting and Sharing
  • Photography Business Resources
The fourth group is called "Featured," which are articles that the Photoverse team found so useful as to merit bookmarks, which like the Blogs tab, is also organized by topic:
  • Photography Resources
  • Post Processing Tutorials
  • Kevin Kubota Photography Resources
  • Gear Guide

PERFORMANCE

Pages load at about the same speed as in Safari.  I didn't notice any delay.

The app seems pretty stable.  I haven't experienced any crashes, unlike a few other apps I've tried.

BOTTOM LINE
Having tried Photoverse, it's become my primary source of photo information on the road (I use Google Reader for the few sites I like that aren't included in Photoverse). The app is currently available for the introductory price of $0.99.  To me, at that price, it's a no-brainer for anyone whose time is worth anything (or conversely, worth nothing :) ).