Looking for a last-minute holiday gift you can create on your iPad and pick up the same day? Moments.me (not to be confused with photo-sharing app Moment.me), is a newly launched photo book maker which lets you quickly build a customizable, hardcover-bound photo book using images from your social networks, iCloud or your Camera Roll. When you’re finished, the book can be picked up within just a few hours from a nearby Walgreens or Duane Reade. [UPDATE: the printing experience is too buggy to use at this time.]
The Tel Aviv-area company, started a year ago, was born out of the founders’ previous efforts in doing mobile development for hire, including time spent working with HP on the webOS project, as well as on client work for Dropico, Zappix, and others.
Explains co-founder Amit Sherman, the idea to do a photo book application was partially due to their experience in the mobile photo space, but also because of the challenges that still exist today with building a book – something they felt could be improved on a touch-based device like the iPad.
Moments, then, is designed to be simple to use to make the process less frustrating, and much faster. There is only one photo book product you can choose from currently, which is actually good because it narrows down your options from the beginning. As you build the book, adding text, a different background color, or a pre-templated layout is done via drag-and-drop. The options are tappable at the top of the screen and you just pull them down on to the page to customize.
Beneath the photo book editor’s interface are your photo sources: Facebook, Dropbox, or iPad (Camera Roll, Photo Stream, albums). From here, you drag-and-drop photos from an album into position on the photo book’s pages.
There’s not much more to it than that. When you’re done you checkout to complete your purchase, which you later pay for in-store at one of the 4,000 locations across the U.S. offering photo book printing. (Moments also won Walgreens API developer contest for this app, we’re told).
There were a couple of bugs with the current version of the app. For instance, when swapping out layouts after photos were already in place, the app crashed. The other issue was that the iPad albums are in the wrong order – instead of showing newest photos first, they show the oldest. However, Sherman says this is being corrected in the next app update which is currently in review with Apple. (This will include an iPhone version of Moments, too, he says.)
The iPhone app will be very similar to competitor Mosaic, in terms of its ability to automatically generate photo books for you after you first pick out a few photos you want to use. The bigger difference between the two is that Mosaic albums are shipped out to you, while Moments’ books can be picked up locally
UPDATE: After attempting to order a photobook through the app, there were too many bugs to make checkout possible. The book got stuck during the initial upload. Then when it went through upon a second time, pressing “buy” to complete the process led to an error message “https://m5.walgreens.com We’re sorry, there was an error with your checkout. Please try again.” This could be a failure on the app’s side, on Walgreens’ side or both. Walgreens tech support said they are not responsible for anything to do with their API. The developer has yet to respond.
Moments is a team of five full-time employees, and one freelancer. The company has raised a small ($300K) round of seed funding from the Shaked family (owners of 888) and the Mafil company.
The app is a free download here on iTunes. Until Dec. 31, there’s a coupon for books printed which bring their cost down to $15.00 for the time being.