‘Zoomdeck’ is an iOS app that allows users to add interactive links to any element in a photograph

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. Well, it could be a lot more. It could tell you stories, direct you to entire worlds of new information, or communicate with you. One of the newest apps to grace the iPhone App Store is Zoomdeck, a product that enables the user to interact with a photograph.

Understanding a photo

The application lets you ‘spot’ elements inside a photo. “For instance, haven't you wondered about the things in a photo? Say the person, the clothes he or she is wearing, the furniture in the background? With Zoomdeck, you can add notes, audio or video clips, people, links or anything that can tell you more about the photo. You can actually look up an Armani watch or a Zara trouser in a photograph,” says Amarnath Vannarath, co-founder of Zoomdeck.

The idea of starting an ‘interactive photo’ app occurred to Deepak E. Prakash, a friend of Amarnath’s from their days at the Model Engineering College, Kochi. Deepak is passionate about photography and he discussed the possibility with Amarnath. Soon, the two started designing and developing the app. An opportunity to attend the ‘GSF Accelerator Programme’ conducted by GSF, one of the largest early-stage startup accelerators in India, in 2012 proved helpful for the duo as they learnt the nitty-gritty of the market. “Our product was at a very early stage then. But we got a lot of guidance and feedback from investors and mentors,” Amarnath says.

Gradually, another friend from their almamater, Saneef Ansari, joined them to help with design. He currently acts as the consultant for Zoomdeck. The team also hired Sumit Gupta to strengthen their core.

The iOS app, which is free, was formally launched on September 3 and already has an active community spread across US, Europe, Australia and India, the founders claim. “Our ultimate goal is to redefine the way people consume and interact with photos. Can you imagine a web without any hyperlinks? No, because the web wouldn’t be what it is. Photos are somewhat like that now—they are beautiful, colourful, yet static. There is a whole new world out there to explore,” Amarnath explains.

The spots in the photos are unobtrusive, too. They also enable others to discover and engage with the photo. Entire conversations can be carried on in Zoomdeck based on each spot. One can spot stories, memories, notes, products, places, people or any element one finds interesting in a photo. These spots can then be linked to video, audio, photo, products, Facebook and Twitter profiles or even maps. One can preview and buy products ‘spotted’ on photos, too.

The Zoomdeck team’s aim now is to build a good user base before venturing into the Android market.