photo album
Ready for a face lift: Familio is a modern twist on the old-fashioned family photo album. Photo by Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem
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Harnessing the power of social networking, Familio has developed a platform that makes it easy for parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins to stay in touch. Photo by courtesy

It's not always easy to make a Jewish mother happy, but the Israeli start-up and family social networking site Familio seems to enjoy a challenge.

"We want our moms to be happy," the website's founders announce on their website.

And just how do they plan to put a smile on your mom's face? By keeping near those who are most dear.

Harnessing the power of social networking, Familio has developed a platform that makes it easy for parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins to stay in touch. The network is private and for family members only, which means that secrets from the family dinner table are protected and that those embarrassing photos from your uncle's last birthday party will stay away from the prying eyes of anyone who doesn't share your DNA.

Familio has two goals. The site can be used to share content; mainly photos, videos or written greetings tied to current family events – for example, a family photo album from the Rosh Hashanah dinner. Additionally, it can also be used as a site to store shared family memories for posterity.

According to their website, Familio moms, who now have family photos and precious memories at their fingertips, are indeed feeling groovy.

Familio founder and CEO Iftach Yair drew on his own experience as a family man for inspiration. "In another couple of years when I want to search for photos of my son's bar mitzvah, I won't need to search through digital databases," he says. "Instead, I'll be able to find all the photos with a single click and to create a photo album with another click."

Yair founded the company earlier this year along with Eran Sandler, Avi Charkham, Iftach Orr and Yaniv Golan. It is still in its initial stages and is being hosted by local technology incubator lool ventures.

The product's first version, launched several years ago, already has several thousand users. Users can sign up for free. The company hopes in the future to explore several different business models including premium services that will offer profit.

Familio can be accessed either at their website or via mobile sites for both Android and iOS mobile phones. Family members can "like" the site and write feedback, and developers hope to roll out a chat option, which will let cousins take their banter online, in the near future.

Familio, Yair says, fills a gap in the social-networking sphere.

"We manage our social lives on Facebook, our professional lives on LinkedIn, but for everything linked to communicating with family there isn't a platform," says Yair. When it comes to sharing family content, he explains, privacy is key.

"There are many times that it's appropriate [to share things] only with family members," he says, citing photographs of his own son as an example.

"If you were to search Google for photos of children in the bathroom you would a pedophile's paradise," says Yair. "People naively upload photos to [open-access] sites like Picasa. We want to fulfill the need for privacy. There are a lot of moments that are appropriate [to share] with family but not everyone else."