Israeli company Ginipic offers a two-step image search download that crawls 15 different web-based photo-sharing applications and displays the results on a single screen.
Ginipic is a small Israeli startup with a big idea. Usually, searching for an image online means a number of visits to a variety of photo sharing sites and a time-consuming process to download your choice.
Ginipic downsizes the entire process to two steps. Enter a search term and the Ginipic application crawls 15 different web-based photo-sharing applications. The software then presents the results on a single screen.
That’s already a big improvement over Google’s image search, which displays a maximum of only 25 photos on a page, and requires users to click the “Next Page” button repeatedly.
On most image search sites, once you find the right picture you have to click through to see the full size image, right click to download it and then choose “Import” to paste it into your Word document. And that’s assuming you’ve received the copyright clearance to use it.
Streamlined image search and other goodies
With Ginipic, once you find the image you want, you simply drag and drop it into the application you’re using – whether that’s Word, PowerPoint or an email program. The Ginipic application is designed to be used alongside other programs to reduce switching back and forth between screens. Ginipic will also search your own computer for images.
Ginipic shows copyright details and a photo’s Creative Commons status to safeguard you from inadvertently infringing on a copyright. A dollar sign and a large “Buy Now” button appear if an image isn’t free.
Other goodies include the ability to instantly share images on social networks, set an image as your desktop background and save it to a built-in “lightbox” that contains only those pictures you’ve selected to view.
A potential drawback is that Ginipic is not a web application but a download, and it only works on Windows (bad news for all the creative types and increasing numbers of students who use Macs).
ISRAEL21c asked company CEO Lior Weinstein why Ginipic is a download, when this is often a barrier to usability for wary web denizens.
A dream concept
Weinstein explains that the company chose the download option because it was the only way to enable the drag and drop functionality. Otherwise you can’t go directly from web to Word, nor can you search your own computer. Fortunately, the software is only 4 MB, making for a relatively painless installation.
Among the services with which Ginipic works are DeviantArt, Flickr, Picasa, Google, Fotolia, Bing, PhotoBucket, SmugMug, Yahoo, Dreamstime and Crestock.
Weinstein says that the idea for his company literally came to him in a dream. One night, he was working on an important paper for a classical studies course at Tel Aviv University. He was up late and he still needed pictures of ancient Greek and Roman statues.
Exhausted, he fell asleep and dreamed of dragging pictures directly from the photo sharing websites he had visited into a Word document. Two weeks later, a mock-up was complete and the company was on the fast track to development.
The service is the brainchild of Weinstein and two childhood friends from Even Yehuda in central Israel – Noam Finger and Orr Sellah. Not coincidentally, they are also Ginipic’s only employees. Ginipic is currently seeking investors.
Seeking small, speedy deals
For now, Ginipic offers its application for free, and unlike other web services that pitch a paid premium version, the company’s business model is to cut “white label” deals that will grant existing photo sharing sites Ginipic’s functionality, to be combined with the partner’s branding. Ginipic is also in talks with several advertising agencies interested in updating their aging interfaces for image search.
CEO Weinstein tells ISRAEL21c that Ginipic, founded just last year, is looking for deals in the $10 to $30,000 range rather than with big players who might pay in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, because, “We want to bring the product to market as fast as possible. With a $100,000 deal, there are endless meetings. And for that price, a big company will always consider building it in-house. At $10,000, it’s not a problem.”
Ginipic is not without competitors. Meta-search services like Copernic have been around for years, and Microsoft Office’s Clip Art tool is already built into Word (“although no one uses it,” Weinstein muses). Other sites, such as CoolIris, are more about enjoying images online than searching for them, Weinstein points out.
So far, reactions are positive. In the nine months since Ginipic launched more than 100,000 users have signed up “on $0 advertising,” Weinstein relates. And approximately 25 percent of those are active users, he adds.