The Interactive Family Album Series: Capzles

Raise your hand if you know someone who is completely obsessed with scrapbooking.  Oddly enough, as much as I love the idea of preserving and sharing family stories, I’m not really all that into scrapbooking.  This may be due to residual guilt over the fact that I still haven’t finished my eldest child’s baby book (and he’s in the sixth grade this year).  

At any rate, with families living farther apart, widespread broadband access, and cooler, simpler tools for uploading, organizing and sharing family media like pictures, stories and videos, the idea of an interactive family album is becoming more appealing.  Not to mention that an online album is relatively green-friendly.  There’s no paper, no plastic, and it only uses electricity when someone is looking at it. 

So I’m going to be doing a series here on creating interactive, digital family albums.  This week, I’m going to look at Capzles.com.  

The idea behind Capzles.com is to create digital “time capsules” (hence the name) that contain all the various text, images, video and other assorted content for a particular event or piece of your life, organized in timeline form, on a single page.  

From a user standpoint, Capzles is fairly simple, with point and click tools to upload, organize, and prettify your Capzles and the content they contain.  Some of those tools have a bit of a lag-time problem which could prove frustrating for novice users (the service is still in beta).

Since privacy is always a concern when sharing images and video of your family, you’ll be happy to know that you can set individual privacy settings for each Capzle you create.  Your options are Public (everyone can see it), Friends or Private.  

Speaking of Friends, Capzles is yet another site that will beg you to try and drag your existing social network onto their platform.  Make of that what you will.  

On the whole, I liked working with Capzles and would recommend it to someone who is looking to do something that could roughly be described as “rich media scrapbooking.”  One small complaint: I’d love to add video to my Capzles.  Since I generally take video of this sort with my mobile device, the fact that .3gp format (most cell phones’ native video format) isn’t compatible for direct upload makes it a bit of a nuisance that would deter less techy users.  It would be nice if I could directly send content from my phone to the media folder for my account at Capzles, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker.  

With the proliferation of Web 2.0 services like this in the last couple of years, I haven’t really been able to keep up with what is available in similar service like I would prefer.  If you’ve tried or know about one, chime in on the comments, and I’ll do my best to check it out and review it here in the series.

img courtesy Scyza on sxc

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