Facebook unveils Shared Photo albums

Facebook Shared Photo Albums (web screenshot 001)

Don’t you just hate that Facebook won’t let you create a shared album where everyone invited could upload their event photographs? Well now you can as the social networking giant this morning announced a self-explanatory new capability dubbed Shared Photo albums. Facebook’s Bob Baldwin took a rather uncharacteristical step of formally launching the new feature in an interview with Mashable, here’s what you need to know…

Facebook’s Shared Photo albums are just that, a way for multiple users to upload images to the same album.

The album creator can share access to as many as 50 “contributors,” who can each in turn share up to 200 photos. Album creators can choose a setting that allows contributors to invite others to the album, or retain total control over album invitations.

This is in addition to the existing private or public albums that limit you to up to a thousand individual photos. With up to a two hundred uploads per each of the 50 contributors, a Shared Photo album can hold up to ten thousand images.

Cool or what?

As you can see on the screenshot top of post, creating a Shared Photo album works much in the same way as uploading images to a regular Facebook album. Shared Photo albums have three available privacy settings: Public, Friends of Contributors and Contributors Only.

The first option creates a public album viewable by anyone.

Friends of Contributors limits visibility of your Shared Photo album to up to 50 contributors and their friends. Contributors Only, as the name suggests, restricts album photos to only those individuals you’ve cherry-picked as album contributors.

Though way overdue, the new feature will be Godsent when you need to share photos with event attendees, co-workers or select family members. For example, now I can attend a party (or a concert, wedding, vacation and what not) with a group of friends and assign each partygoer a contributor to a Shared Photo album.

It’s a lot like the Party Mode function on Google+ which lets individuals share all of their photos and videos in real time with the guests of an event. Apple has a similar feature in iOS called Shared Photo Streams, sans the group upload functionality.

Only the album creators can delete or modify the individual photos in a Shared Photo album, though contributors have editing power over the photos they upload.

The feature is not available for Page albums.

Unfortunately, Shared Photo albums is a desktop-only affair and there was no indication when the feature might come to Facebook’s free iOS app other than “soon”. Right now, mobile uses can only contribute photos as the ability to actually create Shared Albums has not been implemented on mobile yet.

They are currently rolling it out to select English-speaking U.S. users, with a wider release to come in the near future. Facebook may also increase the 200 photo limit per person in the future.

The capability was created during one of Facebook’s company-wide hackathon sessions, based on user feedback. Facebook is betting the new feature will boost group engagement as Instagram remains the place for sharing single photos.

With more than 1.15 billions users and on average 350+ million photos being uploaded to the social networking website every day, Facebook’s strategy certainly has legs.

In the end, it’ll come down to how Facebook communicates Shared Photo albums to its increasingly uninterested user base and whether or not power users and early adopters embrace the feature.

Is Facebook a place where you’d gladly use the communal photo-sharing feature?

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