July 26th, 2012 [coming soon] new functions

**This post is a notice of soon-to-come update. Please note that as of today, July 26th, these functions are not available yet. We will annouce you on our Twitter feed when the new version is distributed.**

Hi, how are you all? It’s hot here in Tokyo these days, so hot that summer heat is about to melt me down.

Today, I have “hot” news to share with you too – the new update of million moments will soon be available. The new update has three new features that many of our customers have requested, or indeed, I have longed for.

1. Cover Change
The new update of million moments will allow you to change the cover of your albums. Open an album, tap your favorite picture to enlarge it, and then tap the cover icon. Simple as that!

2. Picture Rotation
When a picture is enlarged, you will also see a new icon that wasn’t there before. You can now rotate the picture by tapping this icon.

3. Sorting Order Option (new picture first or old picture first)
The old version always showed new picture first in an album. The new update version will now allow you to select whether you want to see new picture first or old picture first, just like the traditional paper photo albums. This option has been added to the album setting menu.

I hope the new features will help you enjoy making your beautiful albums even more.

posted by Aki | Category: information |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 23th, 2012 The story behind million moments (latter part)

This post continues from the former part of the story behind million moments. The previous post is here > The story behind million moments (former part)

My target users are people who don't want to spend time on editing.

--gokaichi(gk)   Is the app meant for female users?

--aki   No, that wasn't in my mind. I wanted to take in the design that could be accepted regardless of the gender. Ladies do like natural taste, but so do men. For example, men like brands such as Ikea and Muji just as women do. So I didn't really target female users. It just turned out to be that way as the result of pursuing design that can satisfy everyone.

--gk   Then for who was this app meant for?

--aki   The main target is busy people who like taking pictures, and those who have something they love to take a shot of. People who have time take time to do editing and sorting. They arrange their pictures as they like, but I think there are many people who just wish to look back pictures in easy way, simply by just importing the pictures." So in short terms, I would say my main target users are people who don't want to spend time on editing.

--gk   I do see many photos that are manually elaborated these days.

--aki   Right. There are many apps that create collages, but to make it really look good, it does require time and a good sense of art. So after some tries, people stop using them. I couldn't find a good app that allows anyone to make elegant pictures.

--gk   There are so many apps with cute stamps and cool effects, but I think the fact that this app is liked by so many people without such frills is amazing.

You took all the pictures, so you should be able to enjoy all of the pictures yourself.

--aki   So again, I wish people who want to store the pictures of things they love would find this app useful.

--gk   Got it. And I think people who take pictures, but do nothing with them should try this app also. Such people may feel fine just leaving the pictures as they are, but I want to shout out "Try it. It's good to look them back when they are organized in an album."

--aki   Actually, it's a nice way to look back at pictures you don't want to share on Facebook or Twitter. There are pictures you want your friends to "like", but there are pictures you would want to keep to yourself only. You took all the pictures, so you should be able to enjoy all of the pictures yourself, regardless of whether you've posted them on SNS or not.

--gk   I agree. The latest photo apps are all going social. That's not bad, but not all of my pictures are meant for my friends, and it's good to have an app that can keep my memory for myself. The main objective of this app is not to share, but to look back yourself.

--aki   Of course, when you do look back, you will find for sure the pictures you want to share with your friends again.

--gk   Hey, that's a good wrap up. I admit. You need both, recalling and sharing.

Take a lot of pictures, import them, and browse them every day.

--gk   Okay, can you give me a message to our readers?

--aki   You should be able to enjoy million moments more by adding more pictures to your albums. I wish you would cherish your memory with the app by taking a lot of pictures, importing them, and browsing them every day with million moments.

--gk   I'd like to add that this app is made by the team members who love to use the app themselves. The small improvements are still needed, but in overall, we are confident that this app should help you cherish and enjoy memories stored in your handset.

--aki   Our engineers were also proud to deliver this app to the market.

--gk   I don't know how much my pride is worth, but I can guarantee that we all were in love with this project.

--aki   Perhaps we were in love because we gave a good codename, "Torzho", to this project! (It means "I'm gonna take more pictures with this")

--gk   Hey, that's supposed to be our secret!


I hope you enjoyed our interview. Aki, who were so shy to have a camera facing her while she talked, is now planning the next update of the app. Aki is keen to add more improvements to make the app best suit for cherishing the precious memories of all the users. Please look forward to her coming actions.

From our next post, we will be sharing with you again the usage tips of million moments. See you!

posted by gokaichi | Category: Inside stories |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 19th, 2012 The story behind million moments (former part)

Today, I'd like to deliver to you the story behind million moments. Myself, Gokaichi, has interviewed the original proposer of this app, Aki, to hear from her not only her passion toward the development and delivery of the app, but also her attitude toward her work. Don't miss it, especiallly if you like million moments and if you are a female audience in the same generation as aki!

So it's been almost a year

--gokaichi(gk) Since when have you started planning this app?

--aki   It was June 2nd of 2011 when I first came up with this plan, so it's been almost a year.

--gk   Wow, how accurate. Do you keep a diary of this project?

--aki   Actually, yes. I was so passionate especially in the beginning. I even dreamed about writing a book on this project.

--gk   (laugh)

--aki   But when I faced a setback in the beginning, I stopped taking notes, so there is a fairly long blank period.

--gk   A setback. For how long?

--aki   For about a half a year. The project didn't get authorized for that long.

--gk   That's tough! (laugh)

--aki   Meanwhile, I tried refining the plan. And I also tried to increase the number of supportes within our company, but it wasn't very successful.

--gk   I understand. Gathering motivated people is one of the hardest thing to start up a new business within a company.

--aki   Unlike the other apps, this app doesn't utilize the latest imaging technologies. So there were opinions within my company like "What's the point of us SDNA delivering this app?" It's very true that this app is not technology oriented, but what the users care is not always the technology.

--gk   Because we belong to a Sony company, I also feel people not only outside the company but also inside the company are expecting us to use latest technologies. So did you intentionally tried not to make the app look digital? I thought the app's look isn't very sharp, Sony-looking design.

--aki   Yes it's intentional, but I feel the simplicity is the direction Sony is heading too.

--gk   Right, it's clean.

--aki   I tried to make it as simple and clean as possible.

I didn't know I took this good picture!

--gk   Let me ask. What do you like most about this app?

--aki   I would say the balance between the simplicity and the richness of the feature. I sincerely wanted to make an app that people would love to use everyday to look back their photos. So it had to be extremely easy as import pictures and done. For people who want to do more, they have options to write comments and add labels. But those functions aren't something all users have to use. It's an app that has options on how deeply you'd want to use it.

--gk   How do you like the layout design itself?

--aki   I love it. It looks even better especially when you insert comments, though it takes a bit of work. By the way, I found out after using this app that it of course is good to look back at my kid's photos, but it's also fun to look back at different sceneries that I took.

--gk   I agree.

--aki   This app allows me to look back at photos I would never look back if I just let it drift pass on my Facebook wall or twitter timeline. When such photos are brought back in the good looking layout, I sometimes say to myself "I didn't know I took this good picture!"

--gk   Speaking of likes, I love the promotion video. I seriously like it. It matches my taste, including the music. It almost made me shed tears.

--aki   Many of my friends tried the app watching that video clip. Our link analysis also tells me that the video is popular. I love it too.

Then I thought this might turn out to be an interesting project.

--aki   Let me turn this around and ask you. What was your first impression when you heard about my plan?

--gk   Honestly speaking, I felt it would be a mediocre app.

--aki   Okay, then since when did you start to feel it's different from other mediocre apps? Was it when you saw the actual design samples from our designer?

--gk   The first moment? No, I think it's when you showed me your scrapbook.

--aki   That scrapbook?

--gk   When I just heard about your plan, I was wondering whether the app would be very natural and organic in its taste, or in turn, it may be in solid taste. I wasn't sure. But when I saw your scrapbook and heard from you that this is the image you have, it came clear to me. Then I thought this might turn out to be an interesting project.

--aki   Actually, it was very quick-made and half-baked scrapbook...

--gk   I think that kind of approach is very good. It's difficult to share concept to people around you, but tools like that and other examples you gave me helped me understand a lot. You've also mentioned many magazines that a typical user would be reading when you explained to me about the target customers.

--aki   This was my first experience to propose a product plan, so when I look back, I'm glad I blindly tried many things that might push things forward.


Continued to the latter part.

posted by gokaichi | Category: Inside stories |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 17th, 2012 Labeling while commuting on public transportation

The labels are one of the unique features of million moments. To be honest, I'm sure that there are a lot of you out there who's not excited by the idea of organizing your photos using labels. I used to be one of such people, and I still don't organize photos stored on my PC. I don't feel I have time or the enthusiasm.

Two weeks ago on my train, I was looking back at my photos with million moments because I finished reading my book and there was nothing to do. I saw my son appearing on several pages, so I started adding labels to those photos. I only put about four or five labels, but the book of my son with the new photos looked much nicer than I expected.

(My son is into flowers recently.)

I still don't push myself at home to organize all the photos I have, but I take my spare time while commuting or at my lunch time to enjoy looking back at my photos and adding labels to them if I feel like doing so. How do you like to organize your photos? See you!

posted by gokaichi | Category: tips |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 12th, 2012 Summer is coming (4)

This is Gokaichi. A series of four posts under the theme of "Summer is coming!" has come to the last one.

If I were asked what my summer memories are, I recall my fourth grade summer vacation that I spent at my grandma's place. Her house was in the suburbs where there were beaches, mountains, and fields all nearby. I spent the whole day swimming and catching bugs with my cousins. That unforgettable summer days are remaining in my heart.
May be I should stop cooling myself off in an air-conditioned room, and play with my son outdoors. See you!

posted by gokaichi | Category: tips |  Previous article

July, 9th, 2012 Summer is coming (3)

Hi everyone. It’s my turn again to make another “Summer is coming” post. My theme for today is “sweets in summer.”

What do you like to have in summer?
When it gets hot, my eyes start searching for tropical fruits. And recently, my sensitive eyes caught a new dessert called “mango-coco” at a store near my office. The mango jelly was covered with coconut cream and mango sauce on top. It was no brainer. I had to try it, and I enjoyed its cool and refreshing taste.

posted by Aki | Category: information |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 5th, 2012 Summer is coming (2)

This is Gokaichi. Now it's my turn to make a post under the title of "Summer is coming." The theme of my post is Japanese people's favorite summer time recreation, fireworks.

I prefer sparkling fireworks that I hold in my hands rather than the big rocketing fireworks. I love to make all of my friends hold the sparkling fireworks and light them up together. It's also good to enjoy fireworks just by myself after the party, feeling the aroma of the fun time left behind.

Next up will also be "Summer is coming" post. Please look forward to it. See you!

posted by gokaichi | Category: tips |  Next article  |  Previous article

July, 3rd, 2012 Summer is coming (1)

Hi everyone. Here in Japan, it’s getting hot little by little. From today, I’d like to make a series of four posts entitled “cooling off on hot summer days.”

The theme for my first post is “water joy.”

posted by Aki | Category: information |  Next article  |  Previous article