Facebook's new Scrapbook gives kids (and pets) their day in the sun
Parents can finally tag a child in a post in a safe and convenient way.
When Dan Barak wanted to share photos of his baby boy Rom on Facebook, he encountered a problem. The only way to tag his 9-month-old child (who is too young for his own Facebook profile) was to tag his wife. It was a clunky solution.
Fortunately for Barak, he could do something about it. He's a product developer at Facebook – indeed, he works in the "people tagging" department – and holds a masters degree in computer science from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Barak and his team just launched Scrapbook, a new Facebook tool that allows parents to better organize photos of their children using a special tag that will automatically add photos to a scrapbook. These scrapbooks, in turn, can be shared with family and friends.
"Over the past few months, I’ve noticed the more pictures I shared of my son on Facebook, the more scattered they became across my different photo albums – I needed a better way to organize them. And, I found myself tagging my wife in photos of my son so her friends could see them, too," Barak wrote in a blog post.
Barak's team discovered that 65% of parents who share pictures of their children on Facebook tag their partner in photos to share them with their partner’s friends. "These same parents also told us they want to collect photos of their little ones in a place that will grow with them over the years," Barak said. "This project is a labor of love."
There are a number of apps – namely Remini, Artsonia, and Artkive – which aim to do something similar. They allow parents to share photos and school artwork with loved ones. But since Scrapbook exists within the Facebook ecosystem, it should see a fairly quick adoption among Facebook's more than 1 billion users.
Alison Mendes, a mother of two who runs the fashion blog KidCurated, is excited about Scrapbook's launch. "I tag my husband in countless photos of both of my children, since I'm the main Facebooker of the family. This gets a little silly after a while, and I frankly have been waiting for a feature like this to exist," she told From The Grapevine. "If you have a private profile and you trust the people you and your partner are friends with, this is a great feature to keep everyone up to date, without having to resort to a private Snapfish album."
Charlotte mom Marcy Levinson always wanted to make a baby book for her daughter, who's now three-years-old. "I never got around to it," she admits. "I started going back through all my posts about her since she was born and I realized Facebook was a real-time baby book with photos! This new Scrapbook tool will make things so much easier."
Scrapbook allows parents to "co-own" an album and only they can tag their child in a post. "Photos of my son are the most important pictures my wife and I will ever take. It’s important to us that we’re in control of these photos," says the 38-year-old Barak, who worked at Tel Aviv-based facial recognition company Face.com before it was acquired by Facebook in 2012.
Non-parents might also be interested in Scrapbook. Barak, who tells From The Grapevine it took nearly a year to launch Scrapbook, says its new feature can be used to tag photos of a cat or dog so users can share an album of a beloved pet.
"This feature, as with all new features, will probably not enter my 'technological sphere' for at least a year," says Debra Sifen of Toronto. When she's not tending to her three kids and two-year-old Havanese Sammy, she's drawing the Hair of the Dog comic strip. "As much as I love my dog, between grooming and walking and cooking and working and drawing cartoons, it's not like my dog will be psychologically scarred if I fail to get around to this novel feature." She pauses, looks at her fluffy muse, and adds: "But now that you mention it, Sammy would make for a great Scrapbook."
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