We all love sharing images– it’s nothing new. Even before the internet was born it was very common to share your holiday snaps with friends and family– which didn’t always result in immense enthusiasm from the recipients! One of the many reasons Facebook is so popular, is the way it allows people to easily share their photos. It is so easy– that just about anyone can do it whether you are technical or not. There was also a big reason why Facebook bought Instagram last year for a cool $1 billion and why Yahoo owned Flickr is having a comeback after years of neglect.
Brands and businesses have always seen the power of the image. A great example of a business that gets this, is the container shipping company, Maersk Line. You may not have heard of them, but they are the world’s biggest container shipping company. Does a container shipping company excite you? Erm, probably not, but how is it that their Facebook page has over 770,000 likes? The answer lies in the power of their images– they tell a story as well as being visually stunning.
Why has Instagram become so popular? It allows everyone to make stunning images (well usually!) I am a keen photographer, but I’m very much an amateur. It occasionally take great photos with my SLR, but I quite often take very average ones. Instagram allows me to take quick photos on the move which look great– at least when I share them on a social network.
Pinto — Instagram meets Pinterest on Facebook?
This brings me on to the subject of this article– a newish app called Pinto (pronounced Pin-too). What is Pinto? Well, Pinto is a browser extension that allows you to share any image on the web (or uploaded from your computer), add filters and other effects and share it on Facebook. If that sounds really simple– you’re right– it is. That’s the beauty of the app, it allows you to create some visually stunning photos which you can share with your friends. With Pinto you have the filters of Instagram, the pinning of Pinterest with virality and sharability (ok, I am making up words now!) of Facebook. As the founder of Pinto puts it…
Pinto is your own Facebook photo blog. Collect the things you love, edit them with your style and let your friends know about it!
At the time of writing this, Pinto has 10 effects and filters– pure, black and white, sepia, sunshine, moontime, solarize, punk poster, edgy, blur and flipp. The frames are really fun and can add a lot of character to your image– pure, Surfin’, At the Movies, Good ol’ days, Rustic, 3x, Loved up, Mirror Style, Polaroid and Snow Park. You can see some of these in action later. Once you’ve chosen your photo, added a filter and a frame, you can then post it to your Facebook profile by pinning it to an album. It’s definitely good fun and has huge potential for businesses and brands.
Interview with Erez Tal, founder of Pinto
Speaking of the founder of Pinto, Erez Tal was kind enough to agree to answer some questions for this article to give some background on Pinto, how it came to be and its future.
Ian: Hi! Can you introduce yourselves and what you like to do for fun?
Erez: Hi! Pinto had been created by us– part geeks, part cool!
We all like the startup atmosphere and creative ideas, as we all have in our second life in social media, Pinto is a mix of talents from all around the globe, you can find Jenna Minchuk, our content manager, who joined our team from Australia and an excellent designer and developer.
My name is Erez Tal and I am bringing to Pinto, years of experience in global companies and strong experience with costumers products and in marketing, internet startups and mobile (Previously worked at 888.com, Spikko.com and other startups).
While I’m not Pinto’ing I usually prefer doing some sport activities, from travelling in the national parks and running to kiteboarding and snowboarding.
Ian: Can you describe Pinto in less than 140 characters?
Erez: Pinto is your own Facebook photo blog. Collect the things you love, edit them with your style and let your friends know about it!
Ian: How would you describe Pinto to the average internet user?
Erez: Pinto enables you with one click to save the images you like to your Facebook albums. Say you like an image of your favorite band or celebrity, you can easily share it to one of your Facebook albums, or even create a new album if needed. You can also edit the photo with your own style and make it cool just before you share it with your friends.
Ian: Is Pinto purely for personal users, are you targeting businesses and marketing departments too?
Erez: As Facebook started, there was no room for businesses, it was only for Harvard university students, today there is no business without a fan page.
Pinto is great for any business with online images worth sharing, it will bring those businesses massive social exposure and traffic, for this we are sharing with businesses the Pinto-4-Sites widget, it is a one line script to embed in the site and it is activating Pinto on the relevant images as can be seen on Pinto’s blog.
Ian: What made you come up with the idea? Is this your first project?
Erez: On Facebook, I like to receive updates and stay connected with friends. Facebook is doing great with it but as it simply became a need to get live info that is available and to share the things you like to share (mainly cool images), I found myself start using Pinterest and I found it cool collecting and tagging some photos I like to my boards, with my own categories and albums, exploring more photos and new ideas on the photo boards of people I follow. With the fact that I only remember to check new interesting Pinterest photos twice a week on average, and with the time I spend on Facebook I thought “Why don’t we have an option to pin directly to the Facebook albums?” more than that, “why don’t we edit the things we like to look as we want them to look?”, so we added the effects and frames, there came the idea.
Ian: How did you come up with the name?
Erez: Pinto is a short and memorable name, isn’t it?
While searching for the right name for it, we thought of short, easy to remember, better to have a pinning action association and Pinto activity is actually Pin To a Facebook album, so there come Pinto which also have a Spanish/Latin twist and it catches.
Ian: How has it been? Have you been pleased with the take up? What’s been encouraging and what has been discouraging?
Erez: We are taking off more or less according to our plans, we are still in beta and will go out of beta after releasing the mobile devices version.
With users from more than 90 countries we are smiling on the runway, so this encourages us, believing that we are bringing a useful and meaningful product to our users.
The most difficult part when building a new product is the prediction of how the users would like to use it, how the users will like its functionality, design and other elements. I can honestly say that part of our customers’ feedbacks are that there is a need for more effects, for mobile options and for a new design. Dynamic here is the name of the game, we have to work hard to bring all the needs of the users to Pinto and we are doing our best.
Ian: Can anyone sign up for Pinto?
Erez: Sure! Anyone that has a Facebook account can start using Pinto and share images with a simple click.
Ian: Can you tell me a little more about the technology behind Pinto? Hosting, PHP/ASP/Ruby etc.?
Erez: We did not invent the wheel. We have mainly developed Pinto with HTML5 and PHP, we are trying to use the front line and the high end technology to keep Pinto to be relevant to all platforms.
Ian: What are your plans for the future? More filters, Facebook page integration etc?
Erez: More filters and some new design elements are in the oven, we also work on a version for mobile devices, our users keep asking us when we go mobile and it is the place we think users can be benefited while they will explore and collect thing they love on the go, with any Smartphone or tablet.
We also look into the area of businesses and will present soon a very useful option for Facebook fan page admins.
Pinto site is available in 12 languages, as a global and multinational product we would introduce more languages and localizations.
Ian: Apart from Pinto, what other social media tools do you use, love and recommend?
Erez: The last tool I have just installed is Rapportive, it gives a social options inside Gmail, I am not so experienced with it yet, but so far it is much useful.
I like Instagram. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger made an amazing thinking behind their product and made it addictive and interesting to Instagram users. I do use Twitter but not the biggest fan as it is not telling a story– it is a list of who says what. On my opinion Facebook is the king now and it is here to win, it made easy reach to online marketing for any business and made communication into a virtual and a smaller word, with all its pros and cons.
I’d like to thank Erez for answering my questions!
How it Works
I could spend time producing a walk through here on my blog, but I decided to go one step better and produce a video walk through. You can see it here…
Add Pinto to Your Web Site
Pinto is an extension for your internet browser, but how about adding Pinto functionality to your site so that your visitors can post to Pinto, add filters and share with their friends on Facebook? Pinto have made this so easy by adding a few lines to your site. You can find full details on their Pinto for web sites page, but here is the code you need to add (just before your closing </body> tag)…
If you use WordPress or another site that already uses JQuery, you can delete the 1st line because you already have jQuery.
I really like the simplicity of Pinto and the way you can create visually stunning Instagram style images to share with your friends in Facebook. Businesses and brands are always looking for new images that stand out and get the attention of their fans, and I think that Pinto is definitely a great tool to help here. Unfortunately Pinto doesn’t allow posting directly to your Facebook page at the moment, but you could always share the image from your personal profile to your page once posted. I do know that Pinto hope to extend to Facebook pages in the future. Also, although I love the Pinto filters, there does need to be more choice. Thankfully I know this is something that Pinto are working on.
So, what do you think? Will you be using Pinto? I’d love to know what you think…