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Australian-based relaunched last Friday with a new design and some rethought aspects. Originally launched in March 2004, Faces is a social network that brings media sharing, blogging, and tagging into the game. Since their initial launch, more than 800,000 photos have been uploaded and 13,000 blogs are hosted on the service. They've also been able to raise a little more than $2 million of funding.

What is
Think of Faces as an ordinary social network which goes further by emphasizing media sharing – that is, the uploading, hosting and sharing aspect of things like photos, videos, and even music. What's more, users can also have their own blog which is integrated to the rest of the service (i.e. a lot of drag-and-drop), and create Slideshows and TuneFeeds (which I go into below) with the media they upload.

Business Model
Upon signing up for a free account, users get a 500MB quota (which resets every month) with a 10GB monthly bandwidth limit for whatever they upload into their account. For most users, this should be more than plenty. Although, if you find yourself going past that limit or simply feel the need for more, for a low $25 per year (less than 50c per month) you can upgrade to a PRO account and extend that quota to…everything unlimited. For what they offer, I find this an extremely reasonable price.

Perhaps the main addition in the relaunch, TuneFeeds something that really differentiates them from other similar services. The idea is fairly simple, users upload their selected MP3s to what they call their 'music locker,' and create a TuneFeed playlist with them. Upon organizing the order and entering related tags, the TuneFeed can be placed on the user's profile, e-mailed and shared to friends, or even put up anywhere on the web – such a blog or a website. Something interesting is that this service is fully legal to do and it brings a new meaning to file sharing.

Something that impressed me about Faces is their visual aspect. They've taken good care in making an eye-candy experience, and this holds true even in their users' sections. They currently provide 13 themes users can choose from, all in different styles and colours – my favourite being 'Arctic.' What's great is that users don't have to stick with one theme for all of their sections, for example I could use 'Charcoal' for my blog while using 'Ferrari' for my slideshow and 'Emrald' for my profile. (See comments) Also, more themes are said to be coming soon.

Additional Tools
Faces also provides additional tools and software to add to their core service. Currently, they have a Firefox and Internet Toolbar, Drag'n'Drop – an extremely quick and barebones file uploading utility for Windows, and FileSync – an image synchronization tool for your photos (also for Windows). Lined up is a photo editing utility and the ability to upload photos from cell phones. 

To tell you the truth, I'd never heard of Faces before their relaunch, and they've simply done a remarkable job of bringing together a lot of things for the average consumer. Two things that appeal to me is their TuneFeeds feature and the surprisingly cheap account upgrade – their business model. Something like Faces is bound to stick around for while and judging by the things they've lined up there will be more to look out for in the future.


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