Irrive turns social photos and checkins into an instant trip scrapbook

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Next week you’re going to start hearing more about this very cool new service called Irrive. It’s aimed at giving users a way to streamline all their photos, status updates and checkins that are currently distributed across multiple services into a single, shareable unit. The best application is sharing memories from a trip. With Irrive you can create, in just a few minutes, a beautiful trip scrapbook and slideshow that is easily shareable online. Irrive is currently in private beta, but is set to open up more widely after Labor Day.

Irrive is the latest startup from New York entrepreneur Steven Cohn, who started and sold it to Living Social in 2009. This next venture is still in the social space, but it’s aimed at helping users seamlessly and easily share big life events, especially trips, instead of a beer. The idea, he says, is that we have all these great memories that we want to share, but the record of them is usually all over the place, out of sync, and easily lost. (There is something like this already for gathering info about your friend’s trips, using Tripl, but Irrive is focused on scrapbooking your own trip.)

“The current sharing platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, etc. are basicaly all feed-based products. You share in the moment and it kind of goes to the bottom of the feed and the moment is lost,” Cohn said in a phone call last month. “You miss your friends’ updates sometimes because it goes to the bottom of the feed and it comes in bits and pieces and it loses context.”

And that’s not really how we tell life stories, he argues. We tell them in a streamlined manner. That’s the aim of Irrive. “If you think about it,” he added, “when you get back from a trip, you go to lunch with a friend and they say, ‘How was your trip?’ You tell them in a story format.”

I love travel and I get to write about travel tools and services quite a bit. But Irrive is one of my new favorites. Here’s why:

It’s stupidly easy to use. I tested it out with my April trip to Greece. All I had to do once signed up was connect Irrive to any of the following accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr and Twitter. To create a new scrapbook, simply give Irrive the dates of your trip. From there it will automatically suck in any update, status, photo or check-in uploaded during those dates. If you want to delete any of the ones Irrive finds from your scrapbook, you can. You can add itinerary details too — just forward any airline, hotel or restaurant reservations or ticket email to a special Irrive address and the information will be filled into your scrapbook.

It gives needed context to a singular event or experience. I don’t put everything on Instagram because I have random followers who I don’t think need that level of detail about my travels or life. But I also don’t put everything on Facebook for fear of spamming close friends with a stream of my trip photos in their News Feed. Irrive fills in those blanks and captures everything that happened in one place and gives it the context of a single event. This is sorely missing today, and it’s why I liked the idea of Kullect — adding context — but Irrive is so much more effortless on the part of the user, which is key.

It lets you share beyond the confines of each social service. Not all of the people who care about my travels and important life events, like family and close friends, are following me on all these services I use — my dad is on Facebook, but my mom isn’t. My husband doesn’t use Instagram. None of my family is on Foursquare or Twitter. But in approximately 10 minutes I can collect everything that happened on a trip or over a period of time and show real-life important people what I experienced through an emailed link — which everyone can easily access.

It makes a scrapbook and trip slideshow super simple. You actually end up with a tangible product once each time you compile a trip. You don’t have to do anything to make the slideshow — Irrive builds it for you automatically. If you want, you can decide to add or subtract images, and add music. But it’s optional. And it literally takes like 10 minutes max to do all of this. iPhoto for iOS has a great Journal feature that will automatically turn your photos into scrapbooks, with maps, dates, memories, weather, etc. But it’s based mainly on photos, and it’s not naturally social.

Irrive is not an app yet — it’s built for the web using HTML5. It was a conscious decision by Cohn and his team to go to the web first, so anyone you’re friends with on Irrive can see and comment regardless of the device they’re using (if you mark it as public). Any user you invite can comment on your scrapbook memories too, even if they’re marked private.

This is cool as is, but the seven-person team behind Irrive is just getting started. Though it’s a sharing and organizing tool for your digital memories now, Cohen says there’s more to come and eventually it’s going to move into more of a planning tool too.

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