Nagle, being the awesome guy he is, was kind enough to hook me up with an invite to ffffound yesterday. I’m actually enjoying the service quite a bit. I find it to be almost a Digg + Flickr + Pandora kind of thing. You can select images you like off the front page and add them to your own collection or you can wonder the net, find an image you like, and add it to the collective. I find it very inspiring as a photographer, to see so much good work collected all in one place.
While ffffound is incredibly awesome in concept, it does seem to have a few technical draw backs that I hope they get ironed out before coming out of their closed beta. First on my list simply has to be the very odd image size bug. When you post a huge photo to ffffound, it shrinks it down to a more post appropriate size. When you find an image that isn’t so large, it tells you that it isn’t large enough to be posted. I found this to be the problem with 99% of the images on Flickr. Some of the images from my various favorite Flickr feeds weren’t large enough for posting BUT are, on the average, larger than the reduced size that ffffound uses. If you’re going to resize everything to be approximately 420×420, why on earth would a 480×480 image be too small? For example, I find the work of Tom McFarlane to be fairly interesting, if not amazing. Almost all the images in his photostream are larger than some of the small images on the front page of ffffound, but yet I can’t share them.
What compounds this problem is the fact that on the “how to” page, no mention of photo requirements is given at all. If they’re looking for a minimum size, I’d love to know what the actual dimensions are. All the page describes is that you can click on something to fav it, and that installing the bookmarklet is recommended.
Another small technicality is that of friends/followers. Either I’m completely retarded and can’t find the option to add friends or there simply isn’t one. If there isn’t, why does it say, underneith my screen name, that “I have no followers”. There is a short list of “favorite users” towards the bottom, but that’s comprised of people who’s ffffound lists I’ve added things off of, which is great if that person constantly uploads good stuff, but sometimes it’s a one-off and I really don’t care about their list of photos in general.
The last thing, which I’m sure they’re working on, is the if/then recommendation engine. As it is, I’m being recommended this image 3 times on my “found list“. Problem is, it too is already on my list. Why would an image I’ve already added to my favorites bother showing up in the list of “things I might also like”? Of course I like it… I just added it. Do they want me to add it again or something?
Like I said at the top, it’s a great little service, one I’m going to continue to use and will probably be a decent source of inspiration down the road. They’ve got a lot of kinks to work out, but if they pull it off, it’ll be a great site.
Oh, and if you want to check out my found photo stream, here it is…
It appears that you figured out how to follow me…how’d you do that?
Absolutely no idea. I clicked “view just nagles posts” yesterday. That’s the only thing I can think of. Other than that it’s simply been normal usage.
It says on the sidebar that I’m being followed by “doc.” How weird. I agree with you that the site concept is fan-frickin’-tastic, but it’s just not yet ready for primetime. It could certainly grow into something great.
Would you happen to have any invites? I’d love to check this out. Thanks.
trying to beg an invite to ffffound for jesica corbin at revision3
I think the flickr image bug is because you’re trying to hit images that have flickr’s spaceball.gif overlaid on top of them. That gif is there to make downloading images harder when a user has set their preference to have their images protected from reposting elsewhere. 🙂 You might notice you get two blue outlines, slightly staggered, on some photos on flickr when you post to FFFFOUND. Clicking the very top edge should get the post to work – and I can confirm I just made it work on the Tom MacFarlane image you linked above.
Secondly – followers. I think the fact that ffffound doesn’t make the way one creates connections between users is absolutely the strength of the service. Ithink – and this is just a guess – that following works like this. If you see an image on the ffound site, and add it to your ffffound, you will become a follower of the person that originally posted that image to the site (or, possibly, to everyone who ffffounded that image before you did, I’m not sure about that). People become your followers by ffffinding images that appear in your stream.
I really like this system – and i think that it’s a feature, not a bug. Adding in ‘heavy’ networking features, such as being able to explicitly add someone as a friend, turns the site in to just another social network. As it is, the site is a place that is purely about browsing images and finding images that appeal to your eye and taste. I don’t know about you, but I don’t share taste that closely with a lot of my friends. If I friended my ususal set of social network freinds, I’d see a lot more ‘noise’ in my ffffound recommendations stream.
The system they have is entirely about learning your eye-taste – you only end up following people who post images you like. The site thus becomes more useful as a place to ffffind nice images. It also becomes harder to ‘game’ – as the site focuses only on posting really good images, the only way to get lots of ffffollowers is to actively go out and ffffind *really good images elsewhere on the internet* that will appeal to other people.
I’m not sure if I’ve explained myself clearly, but the point is that the site *can* grow and scale, and in a way that will I think *keep it useful* when it has millions of users rather than thousands.
Actually, I have to agree. That’s the problem with journals, never quite up to date. Having used ffffound for a while now, I’ve worked out both the “blue box” problems on Flickr and come to grips with the “followers” system. I rather like both. I unfortunately have little chance to use it at work and so I ffffind things rather randomly. If you check out Nagle’s ffffound page however, he’s adding things 24/7. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂