Burst Releases Bubbles, a New Collaborative Feature

Thursday Oct 25, 2012 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz

Facebook’s early users posted photos from drunken frat parties and spring break trips. Now that the social media site has come of age, images of a toddler’s first steps or a child’s first soccer goal are increasingly common. But privacy-conscious parents don’t necessarily want to share family photos or videos with everyone on their friends list, so three veteran entrepreneurs teamed up to create a mobile platform that would address this need.

Bryant McBride (CEO), Tracy Deforge & Paul Levy (co-COOs), founded Burst in April 2011. “As parents, we each have multiple children, and we realized we needed a solution to capture those fleeting moments and be able to share them quickly with loved ones,” explains Deforge. “We were about to tap into this macro trend in smartphones & mobile video and create a solution for families that were not always looking to share publicly.”

Burst users capture photos or video using the free iPhone or Android app, and the content is automatically uploaded to the cloud. “You can create groups of people you want to share with, not necessarily the whole world, so it’s more quality sharing,” says Levy. Creating groups for sharing content may sound a little like circles in Google +, but Levy points out that Burst actually came before Google +. “It just shows that trend of people moving towards being more concerned about privacy and sharing in real life,” he adds.

Recipients don’t need a Burst account to view photos or video, but setting up an account allows them to view all photos or videos in one place instead of searching through multiple emails as they might do if the content had been emailed. 

Earlier this month, Burst introduced a new feature called Bubbles, which allows users to collaborate in real time. For instance, a family might create a Thanksgiving Bubble. “Extended family in different parts of the country can add photos or video and it will show up in one place for all of us to share,” says Levy. “Eventually, the Bubble will burst, which means it ends and people get a curated highlights reel.”

Deforge adds that Bubbles could be used for any type of family gathering like a Saturday afternoon hike or a birthday party. “It’s a way to invite others to instantly share and have multiple contributors,” she says.

The ten-person company is located on High Street in Downtown Boston.  Levy says they’re planning to announce media partners next month. The app is currently free but will eventually operate under a freemium model. “You’ll get a certain amount of storage and features for free, plus a printed model where if you want to print out an album, you can print those out into a keepsake or create video albums that are visually sharable,” he explains.

Deforge says they’re also working on improving its video algorithms. “We’re trying to be a very smart solution for families,” she explains. “Inside of all the video capture, we want algorithms to take out the manual tasks of writing descriptions, having a scrapbook or any of those other things that are very time-consuming for parents.”

Susan Johnston is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Susan on Twitter (@UrbanMuseWriter) by clicking here.

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