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Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are filled with photos of your friends’ daily activities and adventures, but a new lifelogging service called Bokeh offers a slightly different and more personal or private approach.

Bokeh is a free iPhone app (with an Android version in the works) and online journaling service which allows users to snap photos, add text, and upload content to their online calendar. Clean minimalist design (closely resembling the diary and journaling app Day One Power Up Your Journal Writing With These Day One Tips Power Up Your Journal Writing With These Day One Tips Journal or diary writing is a great way to exercise and improve your writing skills, document what is going on in your life, and to stay in tune with your thoughts and feelings. Read More ) sets it apart from the rest of the pack – but is it any good?

Lifelogging With Bokeh

For those who don’t know, lifelogging is about capturing your everyday experiences using photos and video. Bokeh is the creation of developer Michael Zhang, and his profile (michael.bokeh.com) provides a great example of what lifelogging is all about. He has filed over three months of daily photos, ranging from preparing and eating family meals, shots of engagement and wedding photos, to more mundane photos of simply watching favorite television shows.

Bokeh page

Bokeh turns taking and posting photos online into an almost single-tap process. Unlike other social networking sites, Bokeh is more personal, allowing users to publicly share their Bokeh URL or alternatively keep it private with password access. Zhang said in an interview that the Bokeh approach is more about remembering experiences rather than broadcasting them to the world. This approach encourages users to take photos of everyday activities that might be too personal or mundane for posting on Facebook or Instagram.

Snapping Photos With Bokeh

To get started, users register an account via the iPhone app and then receive a custom Bokeh URL. The app’s camera easily launches with a single tap, but it would be nicer if users had the option for the camera to immediately launch when the app is opened.

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Bokeh camera

The arrow on the bottom-right of the camera allows users to select whether or not to save photos to the Camera Roll. As it stands now there’s no way for users to batch download photos from their Bokeh account, though Zhang said that option will be added in a future update. For this reason, you might want to keep that arrow ticked so that you save your moments privately too.

After a photo is taken, users can add text and post content to their Bokeh calendar, or delete the photo all together. Multiple photos can be added per day, and in the next app update users will be able to add photos from their camera roll and to previous calendar dates, instead of just the current date.

Bokeh sample page

The camera also includes a front facing camera option and a built-in flash, and in the settings you will find an option that allows you to password protect your Bokeh profile. Without password protection, Bokeh user pages can be viewed by anyone provided they know the URL or have been indexed by search engines.

Bokeh also includes options for delaying how long before “moments” appear on a user’s page, and users can select to have content upload only via Wi-Fi, rather than using a cellular connection.

Viewing Content

Content is presented in a clean, uncluttered scrolling calendar. Multiple photos are displayed in a linear fashion while thumbnail images populate monthly views of Bokeh content.

Bokeh display

Developer Zhang says that future updates of Bokeh will allow users to add hashtags, and search and filter content.

Photoblog or Lifelog – You Choose

Photoblogging has been around for a few decades now, but Bokeh takes a different approach to keeping photos and memories organised. The lifelogging service is more like keeping a photo diary instead of just posting your best photos online. The app encourages users to capture simple daily moments, in addition to more memorable events and travels, without focusing on adding photo filters or sharing moments with thousands of strangers.

Download: Bokeh (free)

Let us know what you think of Bokeh, as well as any alternatives you love in the comments.

  1. ram
    December 7, 2013 at 4:42 am

    how different is this from instagram?

    • Francisco D
      December 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      It's all about the paradigm around it. How does instagram differ from facebook? Still, instagram is a total different experience...
      The way they display the information (day-based) and the openly porpuse of the app (day-logging) sets the users minds when using it to see everyday normal pictures. e.g: if this kind of every-hour-pics appeared on my instagram feed, I'd unfollow that person, here, I'd like it! I know when using this, I'm supposed to see this.

      Written may seem strange, but it is true...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 8, 2013 at 2:57 am

      I agree with Francisco. I'm using Bokeh to shoot and archive my everyday, mostly personal photos that I don't want to post on Instagram. With Bokeh, photos are automatically uploaded to my account page, and I move on. I'm not thinking about processing or adding photo filters. I'm just document my day-to-day activities, particularly with my family. When I look in my family Aperture collection, it's mainly filled with special occasion photos. With Bokeh I'm shooting photos that constitute more mundane activities, but that are still worthy of documenting.

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