BetaKit covered Seattle-based Trover when it launched a web companion to its mobile discovery app targeted at travelers and photography enthusiasts, and today the company announced that it will now allow users to upload and geo-tag photos from their desktop. With the new uploader, members will be able to add photos from their Mac or PC, rather than exclusively from their smartphone. It’s also a way for members to upload high-quality photos, as opposed to just mobile shots.
This is a move CEO Jason Karas told BetaKit doesn’t take away from the company’s original mobile-first approach, but rather is an extension based on demand the company saw from its users and well as by travel-related businesses for both its photographic and editorial content.
“We’re seeing pretty strong demand for the kind of content Trover generates and we’re seeing it among our customers, but we’ve spoken to more than a dozen major players in the travel media and travel reservation space,” said Karas in an interview. “And they’re all looking for a new type of content increasingly customers are expecting when they go to their property. They’re looking for really fresh, beautiful content to inspire travel or help them make travel decisions. So the stock photography and editorial content is not what customers expect anymore.”
With photos geo-tagged in over 200 countries and the startup’s community consuming an average 35 discovery photos per week and upwards of seven minutes per session on the recently launched website, Trover is banking on the community-curated photo gallery to be an immersive travel experience whether someone is on a trip or browsing from home. Users start scrolling through photos closest to them, and the site’s infinite scrolling feature means users can keep browsing photos further away from them. Community members also have the ability to comment, thank, and provide other social feedback.
Although still in the midst of settling on a monetization strategy, Karas noted that the long-term vision is targeted deals based on both interest and location, however in the interim it’s in talks with several travel partners about leveraging its content. Karas said that would most likely entail launching a Trover API in the near future.
When asked about the growing number of startups fighting for attention in both the photo sharing and travel guide space, Karas was confident that the content being produced on Trover was helping set the startup apart both in terms of the photographic content around activities over objects and local editorial content. However, users still have plenty of options to choose from. When it comes to travel users now have services like StrayBoots to explore cities with their mobile scavenger hunts, Desti, a Siri-like travel planner and other services like Triposo. Then when it comes to exploring photos, services like 500px also offer high quality photos, with the startup recently launching its iPhone app.
Trover will continue to build out complementary features to its web companion to be a go-to platform for travelers, both for those actually on a trip, and those who prefer to be armchair travelers. While Karas said they’re not shifting their focus or attention from their mobile experience, this seems a clear indication that they want to cater to mobile-only travelers uploading smartphone photos, as well as travelers snapping high-quality photos who upload images after a trip. That puts them in direct competition with companies like 500px, so it remains to be seen whether they can position themselves as a go-to place for photographers.