Phlook is a cute little startup from Singapore that at first look don`t seem anything enticing. but they got a widget idea very well executed from the widget perspective. the problems are more around with the service itself.
If i had to compare it with other Widget services for the sake of archiving a quick association with the service, i would say it is a mix of bits of other services like Slide and PicApp. it does gravitates more towards PicApp in the end. with the big difference that they got completely different purposes and PicApp has archived a Business Model early on based on being a service for free editorial photos or a way to get better photos to use in blogs and articles. a interesting idea as i suggested when i looked at it. just like PicApp. it uses a interactive interface for the photos but they position them as social focused and commercially focused at the same time. you can add annotations, zoom in the picture, see detailed info, grab directly a generic copy & paste embed code for you to use elsewhere and if you feel that you are a great photographer. you can also sell your pictures using the service.
The best of the Flash Photo Widget is that the design is very well executed and clean. the single pic widget is light to load unless you want to see in full screen. then it start eating up quite a bit of cpu for what it is. it makes me wonder how light it could have been if it was done in Silverlight or if this could have been done with Ajax instead.
They also got a nice slideshow and storyboard in one widget for when you wanna put a bunch of them in a single widget. it also allow for full screen transition but it got three major flaws. it is heavy even in regular mode, very heavy in full screen and it for some reason starts by itself. that is a serious no no and i would like to see it fixed soon enough.
But the widgets are still stylish and well thought out enough for been nice to use and i would recommend them for those looking for interactive single pic widgets and slideshow widgets too.
The devil is the details of the service itself. they lack many things and some are not executed as they should.
1.-High Spread Sharing
While Phlook counts with High Spread Sharing when you visit the photo or photos page by Gigya Wildfire. they decided to limit their target to spreadâ€¦ why?. the more, the better. just position them well. the widget should also count with the option right from itself if they want the service to gain more traction and brand awareness.
2.-Third Party Photo Aggregation
I understand that the main option should be to use the service to host the photos. but that got a hard step of adoption now that there are so many big photo hosting services. so being able to import from Flickr, Live Photos, Picasa and Photobucket will be bad for the service adoption rate.
3.-App and Gadget
Since they are really keen on Flash. why not a AIR app of Phlook and a Windows Gadget to increase the use of the service?. it should be a no brainer for every service that enters into a crowded market. even if the approach can pass as a novelty or fresh. it will not hurt. only help.
But even with all that. i like the service for being clean, minimalistic and simply well done. and since it can easily improve. the rough edges in the service should not be a stopgap for not trying it out if you were looking for a widget like that.