Just a month after acquiring Loom, a startup that offered photo and video storage to Apple device users, Dropbox made another acquisition yesterday, snapping up 3D photo stitching technology start-up Bubbli. The company sent out an email to its users announcing the deal.
"We’re thrilled to be joining Dropbox. Bubbli’s goal has always been to capture experiences in a way that feels like you are not just viewing photos but reliving memories", the company said, adding that its innovative technology will be integrated into Dropbox’s photo service.
Bubbli’s iOS app lets you capture a bubble-shaped panorama of your surroundings, along with sound, by tilting the camera and pivoting in a circle around your phone. The captured images are then stitched together by the startup's servers in the cloud.
Here is an example of a bubble created by the app (hover the mouse over to see the effect):
Bubbli was founded by Ben Newhouse and Terrence McArdle. While Terrence invented the first seamless digital spherical photo in 1991, three years before the release of QTVR, Ben created Yelp Monocle, the first Augmented Reality (AR) app to launch on the US App Store.
After meeting at Stanford, both started to work together and eventually launched the startup.
The move makes it clear that Dropbox wants to be more than a basic and efficient cloud storage provider, and is hoping to attract more users by expanding its footprint in the photo space.
Although the initial announcement indicates that the startup will continue to provide the service, it's highly likely that Dropbox will eventually shut down the app after acquisition. As of now, the app is still available in the App Store.