Canon Australia has announced plans to launch a new direct-to-consumer business in the form of an online image management service, to be previewed at The Digital Show in Melbourne next month.
‘The intelligent, personal image management service will enable users to simply and safely store, organise, share and access their photos and videos – regardless of what device they were captured on – from a central online hub,’ stated the Canon press release.
While details of the service and fee structure are yet to be announced, Canon has confirmed that it will be charging people to use the service ‘with an emphasis on complete privacy of users’ images and data, and enabling total user control of their collections.’
Canon now has four separate direct-to-consumer businesses covering photographic hardware and services: Canon Store, an actively-promoted online store occasionally discounting to street price and below; Photo Pico, an online enlargement and photo book service; a photo education business, Canon Academy; and now the image storage service. All these are promoted and cross-promoted using the largest photo customer database in Australia.
Canon has opened registrations of interest for people to ‘participate in testing and refinement to ensure the best possible features and user experience’. Canon will feature the new service at The Digital Show, MECC, September 13 – 15, with daily presentations on the stand.
‘We know that image management and secure storage are a real headache for people and prevent them from enjoying their personal collections or doing more with them,’ Jason McLean, director, Canon Consumer Imaging, Canon Australia is quoted as saying in the press release. ‘People trust Canon to capture and display their memories and creative works, and the new image management service will allow us to complete their imaging experience simply and securely, in one place.
‘The image management service is designed for people who value their images regardless of camera brand or device type. We’re inviting people to come on the journey with us to shape a local service that meets their needs and we will continually evolve it to enhance their imaging experience.’
– Easy auto upload with ‘smart internet bandwidth management’;
– Find images quickly and easily with an intuitive user interface and auto sorting by date and device, as well as easy tagging and album creation;
– Social media integration, including the ability to automatically pull in images from social media channels together with a record of comments, and publish from your collection out to social platforms (Facebook/Flikr);
– Image access, management, sharing and creating from one online hub.
The Australian announcement follows the beta launch of the image management service in Europe late last year under the title, ‘Project1709’.
Judging by complaints on the Project 1709 Facebook site, it has had some teething problems. However, as Canon Australia volunteered: ‘Project 1709 is a beta service that has been trialled by Canon in Europe for 11 months with the express purpose of getting feedback to iron out bugs and deliver users features that they want. Feedback and improvement are the very nature of a beta trial.’
Canon Australia further notes that the draconian terms & conditions attached to use of the Project 1709 program, which gives Canon and its third parties perpetual, free-of-charge ‘non-exclusive, worldwide right and license to freely use, host, store, reproduce, publish, modify, create derivative works and edit your content solely for purpose of providing you with the Project1709 Services…’ – are not attached to the local program.
‘Our strict intent is to offer users complete control of their personal image collection,’ Andrew Giles, manager, Communications and PR, Consumer Imaging, Canon Australia told Photo Counter. ‘In other words, use of Canon’s image management service will not grant Canon any rights to use their images in any way.’
The public launch of Canon’s image management service is scheduled for the first half of 2014, when full service details and fee structures will be unveiled.