A few weeks ago, I got the chance to check out the new rollout of Multiply with a walkthrough on all the finer changes to the service. I’ve watched with some interest how this company has come from being Yet Another Social Network to defining a clear and unique image for themselves. They’re turned more into an online media locker, which is still a crowded market, but one without any clear breakaway leader.
Multiply hopes to change that, and they’ve got a good start, as they look like they’ve good headway on grabbing a good chunk of loyal users by appealing to mommies and other family documentarians.
I was glad to get a first hand preview of what they’re doing in advance of their debut of the version 4.0 debut last week or the service.
It still has many aspects of social networks that are important and popular these days, namely activity streams. You theoretically can set up your Multiply account to act just the same way you would a Friendfeed, Twitter or Facebook account, reading in your activities from elsewhere around the net and displaying them in your friends’ timelines.
Where Multiply has always shone, though, is in the privacy filters. It’s trivially easy to set up your activity streams so that only certain activities are visible to certain groups of friends. If, for instance, you’d like your blog RSS feeds to show up to your business contacts, but not (for instance) the pictures of that knock-down, drag-out party you went to last night, there’s a setting for that.
Perhaps even more useful (and geared toward the current audience of Multiply) is the ability to show tender and private things like family gathering photo albums and details about your children’s milestone events to close family while filtering those items from the rest of your friends in your social graph.
The activity streams and sharing abilities aren’t where the new upgrades stop. The more simplified interface is betrayed by a powerful image management and manipulation suite.
The system interfaces with a number of other cloud storage systems like Kodak’s image suite, as well as any other local client tools you have. The client side auto-uploader will take what’s on your hard drive, maintain photo creation dates and file structures, and move them into a private gallery that you can either share out into a blog like public-facing site or as actual physical media.
The one physical product they showed me in the demo as to how you can distribute your photographs was a professionally-bound photobook. Similar to a computer-aided scrapbook (which is a fairly popular hobby at the moment), it allows you to create a nice coffee-table book using the photos in your library.
I haven’t done my research, but I can’t imagine that particular product is unique to Multiply (nor is, most likely, the ability to print to t-shirts or coffee mugs) – but packaging that with the suite of cloud storage gears the site wonderfully to continue to appeal to their core demographic.
It’s nice to see a site like this you’ve followed over the years hit their stride and find their identity. Multiply has certainly done that with a solid set of tools and a simplified interface.