Microsoft’s research department has been hard at work on a new app that is now available across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The app is designed to allow users to share photos with friends without the risk of oversharing the photos that they don’t want others to see.
Xim allows you to share photos across multiple devices (even devices that don’t have Xim installed). Sharing is done by either name, phone number, or email address. Those contacts get a text with a link to view the files online. If they have the Xim app, they can add photos to the Xim themselves. Your friends can also comment on individual photos whether they’re Xim users or not.
Viewing, including zooming and panning, is synced across all devices so everyone is looking at the same thing at the same time, and those photos will eventually “expire,” and disappear off your friends’ devices, though Microsoft doesn’t specify for how long they’ll be available. We didn’t encounter any prompt to set a timer before (or after) we shared a slideshow and we couldn’t figure out how to delete a slideshow once it had been created.
Our brief period with the app was, to be frank, unpleasant. The app was slow and it crashed the first time we tried to share photos with just one contact. The second attempt was unsuccessful (perpetual loading screen), and the third attempt saw Doug receive the link to view the slideshow, but I couldn’t view it myself. He was able to scroll back and forth between the two photos and add comments, though he said performance was slow. Along the way we encountered multiple problems including connection issues (“please try again later”) and loading screens that never yielded any results.
What Microsoft is trying to solve is that sense of unease you get when you pass your phone to a friend to show them a specific photo. You don’t want to come out and tell someone, “Hey, don’t swipe left or right,” just because you can’t remember what photos are in your gallery. At the same time, you don’t want them to be the ones to remind you what’s in your gallery if they end up seeing something they shouldn’t. If this sounds like you, you should probably just share those photos in a private folder on Google+ or Facebook, because Xim kind of sucks.