GoGong: An open-source, non-SaaS, screen capture & share platform

There are many awesome Saas-based screen capture & share services in the market today. Typically they offer a client-app that, when installed, listens in the background for all your screen captures. Once a screen capture is taken, the app seamlessly uploads the image to the cloud and provides the user with a URL (added to their clipboard) that they can easily share with others. (For example, you can checkout two captures I’ve taken with Sketch and CloudApp.)

I love those apps! 99% of the time they fill my use cases perfectly. However, recently I was working on an intranet with hundreds of users and no access to a public internet. Of all the capture & share services I knew of, none could accommodate a closed network system. Do to that environment, I was forced to manually upload my screenshots as attachments when massaging my peers – which was a real PIA!

Enter GoGong.

I created GoGong as an open-source project to provide those working on a closed network access to a screen captire & share system; without concern of having any copied material exposed to the outside world. You can read more about the project, download the server and mac DMG, and contribute to the effort here:

https://sshadmand.github.io/GoGong/

In short, GoGong provides:

  • An installable DMG OSX client
  • A server to receive and host your uploaded captures
  • A completly open-sourced project
  • A platform that do not require a public internet connection

Hope you find it useful!

Comparing Google Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive

Since starting this trip about 2 months ago we’ve taken an average of about 50 photos/videos a day, between our two iPhones and our Coolpix Camera. A month into the trip my external hard drive was filling up fast and I began to worry about how I could keep our growing collection of photos safe without spending a ton of money.

When Amazon offered its unlimited storage CloudDrive product for $55/year (with a 3 month free trial) I jumped at the chance to get in. I’ve uploaded about 70 gigs of photos and video since then and have dealt with some annoying features along the way. I just brushed the annoyances off because I figured A) Amazon would keep iterating on the product to improve it over time and B) there wasn’t any deal out there as good as theirs.

Then a few days ago Google released their unlimited Photo storage product too. Damn. At first I felt as though having options  made things worst. Now I had to decide which product to go with, and, if I did change products, I had to download 70+ gigs of data from Amazon over these shitty hotel networks and reupload them to Google.

I started uploading our new pics to Google this week to give it a whirl and the differences have been fairly major. Google seem to me to be the clear winner for me so far, here’s why.

Amazon Cloud Drive (ACD)

Amazon's File List View
Amazon’s File List View

Amazon's Photos Viewer
Amazon’s Photos Viewer

 Problems I have with ACD

  • You can only share a couple photos/videos at a time
  • The web interface fails if there is a disconnection or network problem.
  • The desktop interface was not better than the web – so why have it?
  • The download of the thumbnails on the media viewer were slow and many photos didn’t ever make it down.
  • Sometimes the video didn’t play or trying to enlarging photos for preview wouldn’t work.
  • Search rarely worked.

The good parts of ACD

  • I liked the folder system to organize things manually
  • You can store ANYTHING with unlimited storage. Files or Photos.
  • There are no limits on the size of your media you upload
  • They were first?

Google Photos

All Photos View
All Photos View

Auto Organized by Place, Scene, or Thing
Auto Organized by Place, Scene, or Thing

Manually Created Collections
Manually Created Collections

Shared Photos Manager
Shared Photos Manager

Problems With Google Photos

  • Can only store photos and video
  • There is a limit on the size of the photos and video you upload.
    • At first that concerned me but none of my media hits those limits so it is moot.
  • No file system.
    • Though, now that I have used it for a week I don’t think I really needed one.
  • Not really sure what the “Assistant” can do for me.
    • It does a few cool things but not all that valuable.  Like it created an animated gif of random files in case I wanted them….Maybe I will dig it down the road…

What I love about Google Photos

  • It organizes my photos/videos into locations
  • I can share entire collections or individual photos. I can easily manage those shared photos easily through a management console.
  • The image viewer loads super quickly. Same network, no missing  images thumbnails
  • Search works great and you can use it to find more than just file names.
  • It recognizes THINGS! Like “ruins” and “beaches.”
    • I don’t know how I will use that, maybe when writing blogs and I want to find something quickly. More importantly, who cares how I use it – it is freaking cool!
  • Smoother flowing design. Not fancy, just clean.
  • The web uploader is way nicer than ACD.
    • It shows you thumbnails of your photo and video being uploaded. You can pause it. And when you lose connection it just holds its current upload position until it gets a connection again (even when the computer sleeps.) I have not got an error yet – and with ACD it was always an issue.
  • I can organize my albums visually.
    • With ACD I had folders (w/ a listview of the files) or a photo view with ALL of my media by date. With Google my collections are as easy to skim through.

Overall the UX of ACD was clunky and the service was more expensive. So, I guess I don’t have that hard of a decision to make after all.

One thing I wish they both did is allow me to use my cloud stores images as IMG’s in my website. It would be great not to have to upload them twice for display. It seems like they provide only a temporary link for the photo itself.