Talking tech since 2003

Here are two words you don’t typically associate with the description of stunning or sleek: photo storage. Well, that’s about to change with the launch of ThisLife, a new photo storage and sharing service that utilizes Amazon’s Glacier data-archiving technology to help keep the cost of the service down for both consumers and the company itself.

ThisLife believes that photo storage is less about backing them up and forgetting about them, and more about storing them safely and securely so they can be accessed to share with friends and family. And it’s an interesting approach to backup, being that all of the backup services I know have dull user interfaces and promote the attitude of “set it and forget… unless your hard drive crashes and burns.”

Once you sign-up for an account, you are presented with the option to import your photos from various different sources around the web, including Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Shutterfly, Flickr, Twitter and SmugMug, but you can also import photos from your own computer using their desktop uploader, which works on both Mac and Windows. The desktop uploader can transfer iPhoto galleries and also upload folders or individual files.

Now if you do go ahead and link your accounts from the various sources, ThisLife will regularly import your images from them to make sure they are backed up and stored safely. To test this out, I went ahead and linked my Instagram and Facebook accounts to ThisLife for starters. I found that within a few minutes ThisLife had started to import all of my photos from both services, and of course, depending on how many photos you have will determine how long the process will take. I should also note that with Facebook, ThisLife gives you an option to import everything or just select certain photos or albums to import.

Thislife photo library

But it’s not just the fact the you can import photos from so many services across the web and store them on ThisLife that makes it a killer service. It’s the addition of the beautiful user interface and tight-knit integration with the services you can connect to ThisLife that makes it really stand out.

The gallery-like layout of the service makes it and fun to browse through your stored photos and the fact that when you click on a photo you can view it, download the original, view any data associated with the photo such as when it was taken, where it was taken, the number of “Likes” and comments, as well as view, create, and reply to comments from the original source via ThisLife puts it over the top.

In addition to the gallery view, you can also view photos by location (where you took the photo) in the Places section of the service or view photos by the people in the pictures via the People section of the service.

Thislife view photo

ThisLife offers three different plans, a free plan which has access to all the features but only provides space for 1,000 photos to be stored, or a $3/month plan called Icebox and $6/month plan called Super Box. Both paid plans provide storage for 25,000 photos and/or videos or 100GB (whichever you hit first). If you have lets say, 50,000 or over 100GB of photos and want the Super Box plan, you can pay $12/month (or $6/month with Icebox plan) to store them all on ThisLife.

Here are a couple of the really notable features that you get with free plan (limited to 1,000 photos though) or the Super Box plan.

  • Awesome duplicate photo detection technology that will only import the highest resolution copy of any photo, so if there is a duplicate only the best one will be imported.
  • Joint accounts for people who want to give access to their account to their spouse or best friend so you always share your photos with one another. Note: if you do give access to your account to someone via the joint account feature, they will have access to edit your ThisLife account as well.
  • Brilliant tagging and search capabilities. ThisLife’s search feature is super fast, even with a lot of photos, and can be used to find specific people in photos or even photos taken at a particular location.
  • Tell a story using your photos. ThisLife has a feature called My Stories, which is essentially their version of photo albums, where you can use photos, videos, and text to share a moment.

Currently, ThisLife is only available on the web, however, the company is working on building iPad and iPhone apps.

Have you tried ThisLife yet? What do you think?

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