The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: Wallcast is a PC and Mac application that transforms your wallpaper into a dynamic collage of photos from you, your family and your friends.
Genius Idea: Husband and wife Eric Bouchard and Marie Asselin were visiting Paris after Bouchard sold his first company. As expected, the couple was fielding requests from their parents to send photos during their six-month trip. That, along with the observation that their parents’ desktop wallpapers were, more often than not, showcasing poor quality photos, inspired the pair to create a tool to make desktop wallpapers more dynamic, beautiful, personal and collaborative.
The duo worked with a small development shop in their hometown of Quebec to turn their vision into a reality, and in late December 2010, Wallcast was released. Wallcast is PC and Mac software that creates and continuously updates your desktop wallpaper from a pool of photos submitted by you or your friends and family members.
The initial setup process is a bit cumbersome, but once you upload a few photos and install the PC or Mac software, you’ll start to see Wallcast come to life. The wallpaper highlights five photos pulled from the photos you upload, e-mail or add via iPhone app. Your wallpaper will automatically refresh with new photos every 15 minutes, depending on your preferences.
The most powerful aspect to Wallcast is that friends and family members can submit photos to your wallpaper via e-mail or iPhone app. You’ll need to invite them through the website, but once you do, the photos they submit are added to your pool and automatically swapped in and out of your dynamic wallpaper.
An Android Wallcast app is also in the works. The app, like the existing iPhone app, will enable you to quickly capture and share photos with your wallpaper or the wallpapers of others. The Android version will also let you use the dynamic wallpaper on your device, a feature not available to iPhone users.
Desktop wallpaper may seem passé, but Wallcast almost feels like a more realistic implementation of a “private network” than the mobile private photo-sharing experience Path is attempting to engineer. It’s not inherently social in the way that social media denizens expect, but that’s intentional and the end result is something that is still both deeply personal and a shared experience with close friends and family.
Asselin and Bouchard initially planned to support photo integration with Twitter and Facebook, but quickly realized that wallpapers would get cluttered with junk photos. The two are, however, working on features that will allow you to selectively pull photos from social sites into your wallpaper collage. A browser plugin that will let you right click photos on the web and send them to your wallpaper is in the works, for instance.
At the end of the day, Asselin says the couple hopes that Wallcast will bring people closer through the one screen most of us stare at all day long.
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.