Tokyo2Point0 - 2008-03-11 - Photohito.com and Press Army

Back in close-to-realtime now, another month, another great Tokyo2Point0 at Fujimamas.  This month Andrew scored a good one, with Kakaku.com coming along to give side project Photohito.com its first public outing. 

Photohito.com

Yasuda-san, CIO of Kakaku.com introduced the session with some background, saying that over 2 million visitors come to Kakaku.com each month to research camera prices and information.  Photohito.com is a new style of photo sharing site that leverages the data from kakaku.com and combines it with some photographer-centric features to provide a valuable service to these camera - and in particular DSLR - camera users.

Shinya Sugiyama, System Platform Engineer, gave the talk.  He explained how Photohito.com was basically born of his dissatisfaction with existing photo sites such as Flickr, Yahoo Photo and the like.  When he was researching buying a lens for his camera, he wished he could see shots taken with the lens, and see discussions and information about lens and other camera information more easily.  With sales of digital compact cameras and digital SLRs still strong, it seemed that there would be a demand of such a site, so me pitched the idea to his directors, and got permission to start a part-time project.

In the Kakaku.com database of lens and camera information, he saw the basis of an ontology to support sharing, showing and searching, not just of photos themselves, but information on how, where and when the photos were taken.  Information on what lens was used can be tagged to photos manually, in addition to the EXIF data extracted automatically from the photo files. 

Hence a photo sharing site becomes a knowledge sharing site, and enthusiasts can learn as well as look.  From there they can link back to the pricing and "Kuchikomi" (word-of-mouth) forums on Kakaku.com

In order to attract film camera users, the team have supplemented their database with film SLRs, but the focus of the site is domestic, so currently the database contains only Japan model information.

The site has only been open for two weeks, and there are now 1500 users with over 10,000 photos.  Currently users may store up to 1000 photos of up to 8MB each, giving a generous free maximum storage quota of 8G.  Site design was done by Tokyo2Point0 and Tech Talk Japan Z-list celebrity, Jon Youngfook.

Press Army

Second speaker was Mike Sheetal, boss-man at Ultra Super New.  He presented the alpha of his Press Army media aggregator, a one-stop-shop for collecting all your communications stuff.  It can monitor blogs, images and videos, and allows for input of offline media that you might want to track.  Project owners have the luxury of controlling what items are associated with their projects, so you can guarantee a positive spin.  While this is what project owners want, how the populace embrace it as a resource will be seen in time. 

Attendees to Tokyo2Point0 were given an invite, and I have signed up for the service.  Will check it out and see what Press Army's slant adds to the growing army of feed aggregators.

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