Origami announces itself as a “permanent, living monument to your family.” I signed up a few months ago and got the beta invite about a week ago. It’s an interesting alternative to spreading your family updates, photos etc. through disparate social networks or building a “family blog”. They pitch it as “Family sharing made easy”. I really like the idea of a central family hub (that I don’t have to host & maintain) that isn’t reliant on having an a Facebook or Twitter account.
The set up was really easy – Fill in some basic personal details, choose a sub-domain for your family, then invite family members by email. As my Mum (in her 60’s) responded and joined a couple of days after sending the invite I’d say it passes the ‘easy-to-use’ test.
Once in you can add your birthday, phone number, and home address. You can also add a profile image. As the main account I can edit each member profile too.
The design is nice and clean and carries through from the website to the app. The ‘moments’ you post are presented in a timeline, with the options to ‘love’ it or add a note to it. You can also create ‘albums’ to store collective memories in, which in turn can be shared by email, Facebook or Twitter.
It also has a nice option (website) of showing a slide-show of photos from your albums if the site is open, but you haven’t clicked on it for a while.
The app (I’m using the Android version on a Nexus 4) has all the same options for posting, but the album creation isn’t live yet. Photo’s and videos can be taken right within the app, or you can choose them from the gallery.
When a family member joins or adds/comments on a moment, you get a notification on the phone. You can also get a daily or weekly digest emailed to you, which is great for my Mum who doesn’t have a smart phone. She also won’t be logging into the site a whole lot either.
Still a beta
There are still things to work out, but that’s why I love playing around in the beta sandbox.
I quickly learned that you can’t make an album after the fact. Meaning, once I posted photo’s of Josh & I building a tin can robot I couldn’t then add them into an album from the timeline. I have to create the album first and pull in photos and videos from the desktop or one of the many online photo services it supports. And you can only create albums on the website presently.
When you create a ‘moment’ in the app you have the options to share on Twitter and Facebook, checking these does nothing and there was nowhere I could find to link your social accounts presently.
I would also like to see the ability to denote the relationship of the family members, maybe using XFN, or add the hCard microformat to profiles. The addition of important dates such as anniversaries would be nice too.
Also, I know this is being presented as a “permanent” place, but I’d still like to see the option of exporting the information ala Google Takeout. That kind of option builds a lot of trust.
I like Origami
Overall, for the past week, using Origami has been a nice experience. My wife has already added a couple of moments and I’m looking forwarding to hearing what my Mum back in England thinks of it.
I really like the idea behind Origami. I’m definitely going to keep using it and see what the coming months bring.
You can see more screen shots in my Flickr stream #origami.