I was given the EyeEm app to review shortly before Instagram was released for Android. I had no idea what either were, but a crash course in photo social networking soon followed. What I quickly learned is that the world of amateur phone photography is huge, and that having the right app can make or break your experience. Does EyeEm have what it takes to keep you from uninstalling it for the latest and greatest?
Its hard to talk about EyeEm without comparing it to Instagram. But, after a short while with EyeEm, it’s become evident to me that the two are different beasts. It is similar to comparing Twitter and Google+. While Instagram and EyeEm are each centered around photos, the experiences differ based on how they expose you to the content. With EyeEm, I found it very easy to find and like a lot of interesting photos. I give credit to the User Interface (UI) for this app – they have done a good job.
After getting setup (which is quick and painless), the first thing EyeEm let me do was pick some categories of interest I had. I chose boats, stairs, and subway. It quickly populated my albums tab with photos from those categories. After browsing through some of the photos in each album and finding some that I liked, it started suggesting some more categories based off my selected interests. Generally, the suggestions were spot on and many more photos of interest were found. The beauty of this was that even if you don’t have many friends on EyeEm, it will still find great content from the app which is something I have been having problems with Instagram.
Friends and more
The other three tabs along the top of the UI are “Friends”, “Popular”, and “Around you”. First, lets talk about the social aspect and finding friends. Since setup is as quick and easy as clicking Sign-up with Facebook, finding friends is about just as easy. As long as you have Facebook, and/or Twitter setup on your phone, finding friends from these social network is as easy. Just push “Find Friends” and then select one of the two social networks, or your address book and your are done. Then, you are able to browse and like anything your friends upload to EyeEm. “Popular” and “Around You” are pretty self explanatory. ”Popular” pulls photos from what is currently trending, and “Around You” pulls pictures anyone has uploaded in the general vicinity of where you are. Both are useful features, but I feel “Albums” really is the most useful feature of the three.
As mentioned above, phone photography has quickly become a very popular topic with the release of Instagram. EyeEm’s core principle is much the same, in that you take a picture, tweak it with some image filters and frames, and upload it to EyeEm (and to your favorite social network). Taking the picture is quick and easy from the main screen of the UI. Just press the camera button in the upper right corner and your their. Once the photo is taken, you can easily frame and filter the picture by swiping left or right (to scroll through the filters) and up and down (to scroll through the frames). Once done, hit the big check mark to confirm everything looks good. From there you can then tag the photo and upload it. All my EyeEm photos are sorted based on how they are tagged in EyeEm, and this is based on location and photo catagory. When uploaded to Facebook, it creates it own album under EyeEm.
As difficult as it can be to figure out a new app, I found EyeEm very easy to get the hang of. This wasn’t because it’s dumbed down, but because the UI just makes sense and is very intuitive. Everything seems to be at your fingertips. When compared to Instagram, I was up and running much quicker. Also, the simplicity of finding new photos without having to sift through a barrage of popular content I’m not really interested in, was great too. It seems the creators spent a lot of time tweaking the UI so that experience of EyeEm is smooth, which was something that I greatly appreciated.
While doing some research I found that the EyeEm community — much like Instagrams — is comprised of two phone ecosystems, Android and IOS. Although obviously not as large as Instagram, I found plenty of activity from other users in the comments and stream of new photos. EyeEm has seemed to pick up a lot of steam in the last 30 days. It looks to me that some of the people who find Instagram to be over-hyped and/or over-saturated are looking for something with a little more functionality. Take that Facebook and your ludicrous one billion dollar buy of Instagram!
My time spent reviewing EyeEm was a pleasant one. It brought me into two worlds; Instagram, and EyeEm. To be honest, at the end of the day I found the functionality, and simplicity of EyeEm to be something I could work with over Instagram. Will this be the case for everybody? Probably not, but if your looking for an Instagram alternative with some different features, this should definetly be your first stop.