Traveling can provide some of the most exciting experiences. Seeing different parts of the world, embracing other cultures, meeting new people. You can see new things and you'll no doubt want to photograph your way around the world.
But what happens to those photos once you return home? You might glance at them in a folder on your computer or post an album to Facebook, but the images you take might be neglected in either case — unseen or unloved. ShutterBee aims to be the place where you can share your travel experiences with other like minded individuals, discuss your previous and future journeys, and create a digital journal of the places you have been.
I’m not a backpacker by any means, but I’ve always been a little obsessed with tracking the places I have visited. I reviewed an app called Been that did that and only that, and I liked it. With ShutterBee the idea is to create a much richer experience, tracking your travels and combining multimedia to craft an immersive story of your movements.
You log into ShutterBee using Facebook, but that’s where the similarity ends. Rather than the mundane, every day nature of Facebook or, increasingly, Instagram, ShutterBee is focused entirely on travel. You can share updates through using images, panoramas, check-ins or text posts. Each post will be geo-tagged to a location and added to your country, city and place counts. You can also post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare through ShutterBee too so your friends won’t miss out on your updates.
If you enable it, the app will track you and automatically record where you are in the world and check you in. On your own profile, you can view your locations on a map and see your journey on a timeline.
It’s not all about your own travels, though. In the app, much like other social networks, you can follow other users and see glimpses into their travels — great for seeing corners of the globe you might never be able to reach in person. You can add locations you come across to your bucket so oyu always have travel inspiration later. There’s also the usual commenting and liking capabilities you’d expect from a social app and messaging functionality for talking travels to other users.
The interface of ShutterBee is generally good. It’s smooth enough and the UI will be understandable to anyone who has used other social apps. The different types of posts can be confusing at first, but are all fairly similar in the end result. Annoyingly, there’s no way to post an image after the fact and use its geotag for the post location — instead it uses your current location. That means if you snap a cool picture during the day and want to add it to your ShutterBee profile later, you can’t get the location exactly right.
The main problem with a service like ShutterBee is that it is only as good as its user base. At the moment, it’s small -- you'll see the same names cropping up all the time. And, while there are some committed and interesting accounts to follow, there are also some spammy ones that aren’t quite in the spirit of the intrepid traveler.
The Good: Great idea. Easily understandable user interface. Interactive, multimedia elements are well implemented.
The Bad: User base is holding back the app — it needs more interesting users from around the world to fulfill its potential. No way to post to ShutterBee accurately after the fact.
The Verdict: ShutterBee has potential and there’s certainly something in the idea of a digital, multimedia, and interactive travel journal. The app is easy enough to use but the user base might not keep you engaged for too long.
Check out ShutterBee for yourself by downloading it on the App Store for free.