Flayvr continues to look for ways to personalize your mobile photo gallery even if it takes a new app--and a new name--to do it.
The Flayvr app first debuted for iOS and Android nearly two years ago, grouping photos and videos together in collections to save you from endlessly scrolling through the images library on your mobile device. The latest version, which arrived Thursday, puts an even greater emphasis on personalization, using an algorithm to build collections of photos and to give greater prominence to your best shots. Thursday's update rolls out a new name, too--Flayvr is now MyRoll, a name change that goes for the company as well as the app.
The relaunched MyRoll looks to address what company founder and CEO Ron Levy sees as a failing with the built-in photo galleries of mobile devices. "The gallery is supposed to be emotional and personal," he told me during a demo of MyRoll. "It's not."
The solution, perhaps counterintuitively, is to turn to automation. MyRoll relies on an image and behavioral analytics engine to determine which photos it thinks are most important to you. Those images are then organized into collections MyRoll dubs Moments, with the highest quality pictures given a more prominent place on the screen.
Launch MyRoll, and once you give the app permission to access your photos and your calendar, it starts analyzing photos and videos, looking for patterns. (Photos shot on the same day and in the same location, for example, probably belong together. An event where you shoot 20 photos is probably more significant to you than one where you just took a handful.) A gallery curation engine also analyzes your photos and attaches a score, looking for such distinguishing features as how many faces are in the shot, how colorful it is, and when it was taken. That score influences how MyRoll presents your photos, including which ones gets more prominent play.
"The way the algorithm reacts for your photos and videos will be different from it reacts to mine," Levy said.
I had a chance to use a pre-release version of MyRoll, forming about a dozen Moments out of an album containing 240-plus photos on my iPhone 5c. Images featuring smiling faces of family and friends took center stage in the app's Moment; less compelling scenic photos were shunted off the background. The app built most of its Moments around photos taken on specific dates--vacation pictures, birthday parties, and the like. I'm told that's an expected behavior for initially using the app, but that MyRoll learns from your behavior. Merge smaller moments into larger ones, as I did when combining photos taken on different days from a trip to the UK, and MyRoll learns from that behavior, adjusting its algorithm over time to match my photo-takin habits.
The merging controls could be a little smoother. It's a matter of dragging two photo collections onto each other with a pinching gesture, but it took me several tries to get it to work properly. Editing Moments is a far more intuitive affair, with easy controls to dismiss or highlight photos if you don't like how MyRoll pieced together your images.
Photo sharing was a central part of the original Flayvr app, and that continues in MyRoll. The company has no interest in creating its own social network; rather it's opted to loop MyRoll into the existing services you likely already use. The app promises easy access for sharing via WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, Twitter, and email. In fact, Facebook users can even create an album using their MyRoll Moments to share on the social networking service.
I've long since disabled my Facebook account so I couldn't test that particular feature. I did, however, share some Moments over email. The person you share with gets a link to an HTML5 album created by MyRoll (complete with a map that shows the location of where you took the photos if they were shot in one area). Users can scroll through the photos and download them individually; in a future update, MyRoll plans add the ability to download all the photos in a Moment with a single click.