New Facebook App Transforms Facebook Photo Sharing Experience

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PhotoPad app from Virtual Gestures gives photos a personal touch with a gaming twist

I created PhotoPad after realizing just how limited the photo-sharing experience on Facebook truly is. PhotoPad lets users connect on a much deeper level, and I think that's incredibly important.

A new photo-sharing app from Virtual Gestures turns static Facebook photos into personalized creations for users to share - and as of today it’s available to the public. The only app of its kind, PhotoPad transforms the passive Facebook photo experience into one that engages users, allows them to express themselves through customized images, and rewards them for their efforts with participation-based incentives. Just released from beta, this free app is now available to Facebook users worldwide. If the pre-release buzz is any indication, the way people share and view photos on Facebook is about to change forever.

Unlike software programs or photo-editing sites, the PhotoPad app works within Facebook, making customization and sharing easier than ever. The app lets users choose from a collection of animations or “gestures” to share with friends, or to post on their own walls to enrich their status updates. PhotoPad also comes with templates for eCards, postcards and photo books. Users simply select photos from their personal albums and use PhotoPad's tools to craft personalized images to share. PhotoPad makes it quick and easy to turn a Facebook album into an impressive photo book and share treasured memories with family and friends.

“I created PhotoPad after realizing how limited the photo-sharing experience on Facebook truly is,” says Diane Najm, founder of Virtual Gestures. “At the time, I had just returned from vacationing in Europe. I had so many amazing photos to upload and I was beyond excited to share them, but I quickly realized that Facebook's flat features were incapable of capturing my story as I'd hoped to tell it. That's what ignited the spark that eventually led me to develop the PhotoPad app.”

Although most Facebook users use the site to interact with friends, many of them feel the simple “post and comment” photo structure limits their level of communication. “PhotoPad lets users connect on a much deeper level, and I think that's incredibly important,” says Najm. Creating a network of engagement and support is an issue that's close to Najm's heart, given her background as a social worker. “Many of my colleagues were surprised to hear I'd become an app developer, but the two fields are more intertwined than they realize. My experience working with children and families really taught me how important communication is, and allowed me to realize that Facebook's photo-sharing tools could be doing a lot more to foster and deepen our connections with each other.”

Now that the app has ended its beta phase, every user on Facebook can take advantage of its features – and Najm has no doubts that many of them will. “Based on the massive response we received just in the beta phase,” she says, “I expect to see a huge influx in new users and activity.” In other words, get ready for a new era of photo-sharing on Facebook.

After establishing Virtual Gestures in October, 2010, Najm received a patent for PhotoPad. The beta release of the app shortly thereafter was met with an overwhelming response, quickly earning more than 81,000 "likes" on Facebook. The app has been especially popular with women between the ages of 18 and 35, possibly because ladies in this age group are leaving home, traveling, getting married and starting families – documenting their experiences with photos along the way. PhotoPad gives users the opportunity to share these kinds of events with their friends and family in ways a simple photo cannot – and it rewards them every time they do. Each interaction with the app benefits the user by increasing their chances of winning monthly sweepstakes, of earning badges and of leveling up. In doing so, PhotoPad transforms passive photo sharing into an interactive gaming experience.

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Crista Gagnon
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