Web Watch: Talking Pictures

Web Watch: Talking Pictures

Every photo tells a story when you use SnapGenie to create and narrate digital albums.

Have you ever wished family photographs were like Aladdin’s magic lamp? You could rub a mysterious image three times and a little genie would magically appear to tell you who’s in it and what was going on.

SnapGenie <www.snapgenie.com> aims to make that wish come true (with no rubbing required). This new, free site from Ancestry.com <Ancestry.com > parent company The Generations Network lets you create digital photo albums with captions recorded over the telephone – so viewers can hear the stories behind the pictures. “SnapGenie’s a collaborative storytelling tool for the whole family,” says Hoyt Priscock, the company’s vice president of strategy and business development.

The process is so easy even a kid can do it: After signing up for an account, you upload your digital pictures individually or all at once (“Power Upload”). You can include up to 100 per album, depending on file size; SnapGenie accepts most image formats except TIFF. Then simply dial the provided toll-free phone number and access code, and start talking.

You can record up to an hour per album. Consider preparing a script so your delivery isn’t riddled with too many uhs and urns. To move to the next image, click the forward arrow; use the Studio feature to delete or add pictures, or re-record your voice track for a particular image or the whole album.

Sharing your creation is a cinch: Simply e-mail your family and friends a link to the album right from SnapGenie. Listeners can replay the album whenever they want, and even forward your presentation to others.

If you have a blog, personal Web site or MyFamily.com private family site, SnapGenie provides code you can cut and paste to post your album there. Soon, you’ll also be able to buy DVDs of your SnapGenie creations.

By linking photos, documents and oral history, SnapGenie presents endless possibilities for genealogists. You can create a multimedia family history that combines photos, scanned documents and narrated ancestral facts. With the coming support for three-way calling, you can record interviews with relatives to accompany your images. SnapGenie’s just the tool to let your family history out of the bottle.

From the September 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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