Cooliris Keeps On Growing, Adds Desktop Support

cooliris-wallCooliris, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup that makes a browser plug-in for sifting through large amounts of videos and photos on the web using a 3-D interface, is set to release a major new version of its software later this week. The new software (version 1.10) adds the ability to seek out photos and videos on your computer’s local drive and display them in 3-D in your browser. It is an immensely useful improvement to the plug-in formerly known as Piclens. That’s a useful change, because the sheer number of photos and videos on our computers is growing at a rapid clip, thanks to high quality camera phones and digital cameras. According to Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA), a trade group, about 119 million digital cameras were sold in 2008, and roughly the same number will be sold in 2009. Nearly half a billion phones with built-in cameras were sold in 2008.

These easy-to-use cameras have made us all shutterbugs — and many of us are often uploading photos directly to Facebook, currently the largest photo repository on the web. Recognizing that, the new version of the plug-in has added support for Facebook, as well.

There are some under-the-hood improvements, too: it collects and displays more metadata, which increases the overall performance of the plug-in. We here at GigaOM are big fans of many such 3-D Internet technologies, because both Stacey and I think that the explosion of information online screams for new kinds of user experiences, especially for visual objects.

Last week, Austin Shoemaker, co-founder and CTO, and Chief Revenue Officer Shashi Seth stopped by our offices to demo the new version of their browser plug-in, and I was suitably impressed. I’m not the only one, either:

  • It has been downloaded about 10 million times, and there are 3 million daily active users.
  • The iPhone version of the software has been download 800,000 times and boasts 300,000 daily active users.
  • The web version of the software is downloaded nearly 50,000 times a day.

When I met with the company last year, it had about 2.3 million active users with 30,000 to 50,000 downloads per day. At the time, the company had started dabbling in creating special shopping channels, experimenting with Amazon (s AMZN). It has since added more retail partners, which pay a 5-8 percent referral fee to Cooliris. I bet that comes in handy in these days of advertising recession.

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