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Summary:

Have you been longing for a souped-up combo of YouTube, Flickr, Shutterfly, Photobucket, and Xdrive? Us neither…but a Redmond, Washington-based company called Twango is hoping to turn heads with a digital-locker/social-sharing hybrid for video, audio, images, and anything else. Twango adds a whole bunch of useful […]

Have you been longing for a souped-up combo of YouTube, Flickr, Shutterfly, Photobucket, and Xdrive? Us neither…but a Redmond, Washington-based company called Twango is hoping to turn heads with a digital-locker/social-sharing hybrid for video, audio, images, and anything else.

Twango adds a whole bunch of useful options to get content on and off its site in both public and private ways. Though the competition has already seen large-scale success, Twango comes nearly fully formed, like a professionalized version of the last five years of experimentation.

Though Twango (not to be confused with Twingo, which I also read about today) knows it’s late, it hopes the market is less than saturated. Only seven percent of the 17.1 billion digital images made in 2005 were posted online, according to the Photo Marketing Association. “I think there’s an enormous amount of web-savvy people who have not made a selection yet or who have dabbled,” Twango co-founder Serena Glover said in an interview yesterday.

Glover is one of five ex-Microsoft employees who founded Twango in 2004. The 12-person company is currently self-funded, though it plans to raise money later this year. It opened up a public beta in April and has attracted a few thousand users since then.

We recently covered another startup with Microsoft connections, Wallop, which is doing parallel things in the social networking space.

Twango offers embedding, tags (including geotags), conversion to iPod-compatible files, mobile uploads (only for Windows Mobile right now), and a variety of widgets (an API is due by the end of the year). Its most interesting additions are broad file support, a la digital-locker-type site like Streamload or Xdrive, and extremely granular access settings.

Twango supports 111 file types (Glover says the company will add anything to the list but executables). My top feature request would definitely be native support for files like Word docs and PowerPoint slides, so they could be displayed right from the page (see TechCrunch on a related product called SlideShare today). For now, anything but audio, video, and images shows up only as an icon.

On the access settings front, Twango gives you the option to organize media into channels, for which you can designate individual people as viewers, contributors, or moderators. Outsiders who aren’t registered with the site can upload attachments directly to a channel if they know its email address (though it’s not hard to imagine spam forcing this feature out). That’s in contrast to a site like Snapfish, where you have to register to simply view photos. Twango also remembers useful things like which items you’ve shared with a certain person, or all the places you’ve commented.

Twango is free for now, with 250 MB per month of uploads and unlimited storage. Advertising, premium subscriptions, exporting to print or DVDs and CDs, and synchronization are planned for the future. The big problem, of course, is figuring out how to tap into massive growth. Traffic and loyalty are a lot more important to profitability than features.

We know many of you are as fed up as we are with the onslaught of new lookalike companies and sites, but let us know if this is something you think you’ll try.

  1. I have been using Twango for several months now, and it has been a great way to store, organize as well as share my photos. One great benefit is that my friends don’t have to sign up to view the pictures like a lot of the other sites out there. I love that I can upload pictures from a recent event, then share it to my friends, who then can upload all their pictures from the event. All pictures from all people in one place. This is much easier and more fun than passing CD’s around to everyone who joined in the event. I even put pictures of our annual rafting trip right into the evite for this years trip. It was really easy too.

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  2. I have tried many different tools, such as Shutterfly, Flickr, etc. but my personal preference, by far, is Twango. I love the navigation, the displays, the full screen slideshow, the ease of sharing with anyone you want, but most of all I love how easy it is to upload my photos and videos. I usually use Explorer’s publish to the web function, uploading to Twango directly from my video card. I also really like the twidgets. I never have to update photos on a website again; I just update my Twango channels. I love it! Now I need to buy a new iPod so I can start podcasting.

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  3. Recently for a wedding I was sent a llnk by the photographer for the event to a site hosting his photos. The site was circa 1996. If you clicked on a photo to view it it loaded full resolution which was probably 8 megapixels, no joke. The point of the site was that your could choose photos to be printed.

    It was beyond bad, but the kicker was that this photographer and dozens of other pros were using this site and paying over $100 a month to upload their photos and have their clients order prints. Also turns out he had never heard of Flickr. I quickly helped him to get setup there w/ a pro account at $30/year and then his clients could use Qoop to order a plethora of prints all w/ extreme ease of use.

    So, having said all that I think I don’t think it’s too late for Twango to get on the scene. Particularly if many pro digital photographers out there still haven’t started adopting some of these online services yet.

    It’s an attention based economy, so there’s plenty of opportunity for whoever gets the word out the best.

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  4. Just learned about Twango recently. So far I have stored my pics at Flickr but I think those days are over. Twango is the MUCH BETTER site with unlimited storage, very easy navigation and people who want to see the photos don’t have to subscribe first like on most other sites. To me Twango is the best media sharing site on the net. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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  5. All of these comments look like plants from Twango.

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