Today, multimedia software publisher Corel released Corel MediaOne Plus--a brand-new software program designed to let you organize, edit, share, and create projects with your digital photos and videos. The software provides users with an all-in-one solution for managing their digital photos, all the way from their cameras to finished projects like greeting cards or scrapbooks. It also lets users combine photos, videos, and music into what are called "shows," or video compilations.
The main MediaOnePlus interface consists of a large viewing and editing area on the right, with four-pronged navigation on the left: Home provides the organizational features; Enhance includes basic image editing and effects; Show lets you combine photos, videos, and music into your own remixed creations; and Create offers a variety of photo products like collages, albums, and magazine covers.
A photo-tray feature on the bottom of the interface lets you create on-the-fly media lists of photos and videos for easy access and editing. The trays are placed in a tabbed interface, and you can create as many sets of media as you'd like. You can also select multiple photos or videos from any photo tray and add them to a "storyboard," the playlist component that creates the Corel Shows.
A variety of features allow you to share your photos and projects with other users, by e-mail or via the Web. A free companion service called Sharpcast also backs up your multimedia files online. However, the free plan only offers 50MB of online storage, which seems like a drop in the bucket.
Correction: I erred yesterday in my evaluation of the Sharpcast online-backup service. The free plan provides unlimited storage for digital photos. After 30 days, photos will be resized, but all are kept at print quality for sizes up to 5 x 7 inches. The 50MB online-storage limit for the free Sharpcast plan is for multimedia files, not including photos. I apologize for the error.
The most interesting facet about MediaOne Plus might be its history. The new software is actually an updated version of Corel Snapfire, a free media-management application first released by Corel in the fall of 2006. The company will no longer support Snapfire. While Corel has added a variety of new features to the software--including the ability to add background music to Corel Shows, nine new projects like certificates and greeting cards, and more image-editing options--the bulk of the interface is very similar to Snapfire. I'm not certain how long the Snapfire site will be available, but it's currently active and hosting the Snapfire installer.
In an age when freeware like FastStone Image Viewer provides excellent image-management features, and sites like Flickr, Shutterfly, and Webshots (disclaimer: Webshots is a CNET affiliate) offer users plenty of free bandwidth for hosting images, will users pay $50 for a multimedia-management program, especially when the core functionality was only recently offered for free? I suppose the success of MediaOne Plus hinges greatly on that question.