There are perhaps few questions more annoying at the end of a party than, “Will you email me those photos afterward?” The folks from the popular startup Bump hope to fix this post-event photo-sharing problem (if you think it’s a problem) with their new app Flock, launching Thursday in the Apple App Store.
With Flock, users download the app and let it run in the background after connecting it to their Facebook accounts. If a group of friends with iPhones take photos while in the same geographic area, the app will prompt users to share those photos with the friends who were present. (The friend suggestions come from Facebook, so you won’t get prompted to share photos with random people who were near you.) The shared photos are uploaded to a private album in Flock, which users can then view, download, email or upload to Facebook.
Assuming that everyone likes seeing more photos of themselves, it’s a cool idea, and very similar to the Google+ Party Mode feature. But unlike Party Mode, Flock doesn’t require you to designate a specific event for your photos — it uses the metadata from your photos to figure it out. (Only downside to this: You need to have location services enabled in your camera app for it to work. I didn’t, so Flock only recognized my Instagram photos. Bummer, but something I could change going forward.)
Another cool aspect of Flock is that it can take photos already on your phone and create new albums as soon as you download the app and connect with friends. So as soon as some friends and I launched the app, we could start seeing photos of each other right away. Right now, the app won’t let you add friends to an album who weren’t physically present and taking photos, but the founders said that’s a feature they hope to add soon.
The founders of Flock started out with Bump, the app probably best known for letting two users literally bump phones and exchange contact information. Bump has been downloaded nearly 100 million times, according to the company. GigaOM’s Kevin Tofel recently wrote about Bump’s other feature, which lets you bump your phone on the keyboard and wirelessly transmit photos from the phone to the computer. The founders said the launch of Flock does not in any way indicate less of a commitment to Bump — they will continue working on both products.