News & Views
Disney embraces private social networking

Earlier this year we covered Hubble, a social start-up created specifically for families. Private networking is proving to be quite the trend, with media behemoth Disney joining the party. The latest creation of Disney Interactive is a private photo and video sharing app called Story; “the Disney photo app for family storytelling”.

Disney Interactive is known for churning out games and virtual platforms such as Temple Run: Brave and the insanely popular Club Penguin. Story marks a decidedly more personal approach to fostering engagement; its central function is as a digital “memory maker” which curates all of the photo and video content on your phone and intuitively sorts it into sharable, customisable albums which you can post to Facebook, email to friends and family, or embed in your blog.

The content is organised based on when and where that image or clip was captured, making it easy to highlight specific events. However, this time and date-based sorting functionality is by no means new, with previous start-ups such as Flock, Cluster and Everpix experimenting to varying degrees of success.

Similarly, Story’s personal scrapbook aesthetic likens it to KeepShot, Mosaic and SimplePrint. Story does not offer the printed final product like these photo-book publishers do, although that is a ”definite” consideration moving forward, according to Senior Director of Engineering Scott Gerlach: “In our extensive usability testing of Story, we heard clearly from our users that they’d like to purchase high quality printed materials for themselves and others.”

Story is currently being piloted on iPhone, with all albums automatically backed up to iCloud, enabling access across your other Apple devices, although strangely the app itself is not yet supported by iPad, which would provide perhaps the most logical space in which to curate and customise your own digital family scrapbook.

With this limited functionality in mind, it certainly seems that Disney Interactive are depending on the power of the Disney brand to push Story forward. There may be future plans for Story to evolve into a more collaborative networking experience, but Sarah Perez at TechCrunch is confident that “there are other apps that will lead this space for now.”

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