In a sign of getting with the times, thankfully, Canon, the camera maker, is launching Project 1709 – a new photo collection management site. More than Picasa though, the new site not only enables you to upload and store all of your photos, it also pulls them from other places on the web, Facebook for example.
The idea is to have a central place to manage and keep track of all of your photos no matter where they're actually stored online.
The service is in private beta right now, so you have to request an invite to get in. The actual details are slim, but it seems like an interesting project, albeit not the most original one.
Canon only talks about Facebook, but you can login with a Google, Yahoo or Microsoft account hinting that you'll probably be able to pull photos from Picasa/Google+ Photos, Flickr, SkyDrive and so on.
For now, it seems that only Facebook is working, but other services will be added during the beta phase.
The name is a working title, derived from its launch date. It is set to go public sometime in 2013. As a stand-alone service, it could be interesting, but, as always, the key is in the execution.
Apart from pulling all of your online photos, the service also offers storage, duplicate removal and advanced search which takes into account EXIF data.
As a service launched by one of the biggest and the oldest camera makers in the world, it's a sign that Canon at least is trying to adjust to the new age where phones count as cameras for most people.
Canon's already got a point-and-shoot camera running Android complete with touch screen and app support. More cameras are being built with included WiFi support, making it easier to get the photos from them and share them online.
Still, it's going to take a lot more experiments like Project 1709
to ensure there's still a place for a dedicated camera in the future or, alternatively, that camera makers adapt to the new realities.