The major announcement from AOL today, the first ‘biggie’ to be presenting at the TechCrunch40 conference, was BlueString. BlueString is seperate startup-like project which help users preserve their and share their memories in the form of photos, videos or music in a whole new way.
While there are light integral parts to the product with AOL’s other services, BlueString is in itself a whole new startup and offering — a good fundamental move on their part. Users can login directly with their AOL screen name and password given that they also have an Xdrive account associated with it, or create a new account with Xdrive which enables them to login.
Built on Adobe’s Flex, BlueString presents you with a number of beautiful tabs, options, and ways to insert/upload content. In an attempt to stay out of the typical walled-garden approaches UGC sites like these are associated with, they also plan to partner, through APIs, with various media sharing sites — as they’ve done with Flickr for the launch version. This way, users will be able to directly link in the content from their desired online location rather than having to re-upload it.
Once a user has collects and uploads the content associated with a specific time/memory (i.e. “Road Trip across America), they can go ahead and create and edit together a slideshow-like compilation using the online editing tool. Additionally, they can use the “String it” feature to invite others to collaborate and add to the collection.
BlueString is starting by offering 5GB of free storage with the ability to upgrade to 50GB for $99/per year, which is more than enough for a typical user.
A lot of times, mediocre products and attempts like these from the bigger companies never manage to get anywhere. Unless BlueString can prove itself by having a robust platform and an open architecture since no one wants to re-upload stuff (and the stuff they do want to share and create memories of is most probably already somewhere on the Internet), I don’t see them going far with it.