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Mobile gallery app MyRoll hopes to put your best photos forward

Philip Michaels | July 18, 2014
Flayvr continues to look for ways to personalize your mobile photo gallery even if it takes a new app--and a new name--to do it.

Flayvr continues to look for ways to personalize your mobile photo gallery even if it takes a new app — and a new name — to do it.

The Flayvr app first debuted for iOS and Android nearly two years ago, grouping photos and videos together in collections to save you from endlessly scrolling through the images library on your mobile device. The latest version, which arrived Thursday, puts an even greater emphasis on personalization, using an algorithm to build collections of photos and to give greater prominence to your best shots. Thursday's update rolls out a new name, too — Flayvr is now MyRoll, a name change that goes for the company as well as the app.

The relaunched MyRoll looks to address what company founder and CEO Ron Levy sees as a failing with the built-in photo galleries of mobile devices. "The gallery is supposed to be emotional and personal," he told me during a demo of MyRoll. "It's not."

The solution, perhaps counterintuitively, is to turn to automation. MyRoll relies on an image and behavioral analytics engine to determine which photos it thinks are most important to you. Those images are then organized into collections MyRoll dubs Moments, with the highest quality pictures given a more prominent place on the screen.

Launch MyRoll, and once you give the app permission to access your photos and your calendar, it starts analyzing photos and videos, looking for patterns. (Photos shot on the same day and in the same location, for example, probably belong together. An event where you shoot 20 photos is probably more significant to you than one where you just took a handful.) A gallery curation engine also analyzes your photos and attaches a score, looking for such distinguishing features as how many faces are in the shot, how colorful it is, and when it was taken. That score influences how MyRoll presents your photos, including which ones gets more prominent play.

"The way the algorithm reacts for your photos and videos will be different from it reacts to mine," Levy said.

I had a chance to use a pre-release version of MyRoll, forming about a dozen Moments out of an album containing 240-plus photos on my iPhone 5c. Images featuring smiling faces of family and friends took center stage in the app's Moment; less compelling scenic photos were shunted off the background. The app built most of its Moments around photos taken on specific dates — vacation pictures, birthday parties, and the like. I'm told that's an expected behavior for initially using the app, but that MyRoll learns from your behavior. Merge smaller moments into larger ones, as I did when combining photos taken on different days from a trip to the UK, and MyRoll learns from that behavior, adjusting its algorithm over time to match my photo-takin habits.


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