Philippe Masset

Entrepreneur, software engineer

Treasuring my family memories

September 2012

Memories, and above all family memories, are part of us humans. We care about people, and we want to remember every moment we spend with them. And a huge part of those memories lie in photos.

So what are we doing? We don't stash our photos in scrapbooks anymore! Most of the time, we create a folder on our computers and paste our memories there.

But it's sad to limit ourselves to doing the same thing with our real, printed photos and our digital ones. I mean, computers and the web can get us way further than that.

That's what I did for my family: I created an online photo book, trying to add value to these photos while keeping it simple.

It's now the place where my family and I store our photos, can add comments and stories to them, and watch slideshows of these photos. It's all accessible within a few clicks, and we all find it really great.

So let me introduce this sort-of web app to you, and be prepared to answer the following question at the end: Do you want this for your own family?

Note: I translated the text on screenshots from french to english to make it compelling to more people.
Note 2: My last name is Masset, you'll get why I tell you that later ;-)

Easy login

Every site that I know of requires me to type a login and a password to connect to my account. On photos.masset, you'll only need a password, because I already know who's trying to login: my family. And if my mom forgets the password (which happens more often than you think), my brother can remind her of it.

If I were to open the site to other families, each one of them would get a vanity URL, and that behavior would stay the same.

photos.masset login screen

Login screen - can't be simpler.

Smart upload

In addition to being able to upload multiple photos at once, each one of them will be searched for two important pieces of EXIF data: the date it was taken and the GPS coordinates. Most of current devices add this kind of data to photos they shoot, it would be a shame to throw that away!

photos.masset smart upload

If a photo lacks EXIF data, you're shown what's missing.

Simple photo editing

A page is dedicated to viewing thumbnails of your photos and editing them. Hovering over one will show some buttons: you can either delete the photo, rotate it (90° left or right) or edit it.

photos.masset photos

Hitting the Edit button allows you to add a short and a long description to the photo, and to add a date and a location if these last two weren't found in the photo's data when you uploaded it.

photos.masset editing a photo

You'll notice the search box on the map, allowing to quickly find and pin where a photo was taken.

Once you've added some comments or short stories to your photos, you can enjoy them in two different ways: using the slideshow or the map.

Cool slideshow

Photos are important, that's why they take most of the screen, but they're nothing without context.

What you wrote about them is visible at the bottom left, and you can see where it was taken thanks to the mini-map at the bottom right.

photos.masset slideshow

The map

A lot of stuff is possible when you know where a bunch of photos have been taken. Besides locating each one of them individually (see the slideshow), seeing on a map every place you ever went to is pretty nice, trust me. And that's exactly what the map is all about.

photos.masset map

I plan on adding other features to the map, such as something that appears when you click on a marker. Nothing simplistic though, I wouldn't want to see a meager thumbnail popping over the marker I just clicked. I'm thinking of a full-size slideshow of every photo taken near the marker that has been clicked - but I could change my mind.


Now that you know everything you can do with your photos (upload, edit, view and view differently), there's one last thing you need to be made aware of: sections.

They're like categories, except it's always here, with you. Their goal is to separate your photos into different "folders", seamlessly.

photos.masset section

In the blink of an eye, see how many photos are in each section.

At any and every moment, you're within one section; its name appears in the top bar. Click on this bar to unveil other sections or add a new one. Have a look at the upload screenshot to see the bar before it's been clicked.

The important thing to remember is that whatever you do, and whenever you do it, you're pushing and pulling photos from only one section.

When you upload new photos, they're saved to the current section.

When you're editing photos or watching a slideshow, you'll only see photos from that same section.

When you're looking at the map, you can only see where photos from again the same section were taken (but if you want to see them all, just hit the Show All button).

Wrapping it up

photos.masset is a very simple yet effective way for my family and I to store, edit and enjoy photos from our trips, birthdays, special occasions and pretty much everything we want.

I made that for my family because it seemed great and straightforward compared to everything out there, and since they're all happy with it, I was wondering:

Do you want this for your own family?

If you'd like to use it, or just give it a try, then please give me your email address so that I can keep you posted. I'll only use it to send one email (two at most), and then delete it.

If you have any feedback or ideas regarding this project, even if you're not interested in giving it a try, please leave a comment below or on the HN thread, I'll read them all.