What's Adobe's plan for Revel?

You probably haven't heard much about Adobe's photo sharing platform, Revel. Part of that is Adobe's fault. Revel was originally called Carousel and sort of takes the place of their Photoshop.com service. Carousel was actually introduced in October 2011 and the name was changed to Revel in January 2012.

They've recently upgraded their iPhone app to version 2.0 and I decided to try it out. After playing around with Revel, it's actually pretty impressive. But I'm not exactly sure what the future holds for Adobe Revel.

Revel for iOS

Revel for iOS

What is Revel?

Revel includes a Mac, iPhone, iPad and web apps. (Windows and Android apps are in development.) While Revel's primary goal is syncing and organization, Adobe has managed to include sharing, editing and filters, too. (One click share via AirDrop is pretty sweet.)

But with all those features, it's tough to compare Revel to other apps. The system is an odd combination of iPhoto, Photostream, Flickr, Dropbox Camera Upload, Picasa and Instagram.

Revel for Mac

Revel for Mac

The apps and basic service is free and allows you to upload 50 pictures a month. If you are going to seriously use Revel, you'll need to pay $5.99/month for the premium level that includes unlimited uploads. (The free trial for the first month gives you unlimited uploads.) A Revel membership is not included in a Creative Cloud membership.

Who is Revel's target audience?

More than a few folks online have wondered why Revel isn't included in Creative Cloud, but I think the answer is pretty simple. In it's current form, Revel is not intended for same pro audience as Creative Cloud. The current version of Revel only supports JPGs, not RAW files. You can't see any keywords or metadata that is attached to the file. (All metadata is preserved and visible if you export the file.) And there are no hooks from Lightroom or Photoshop into Revel.

The goal of Revel is to target people (and families) who take pictures with their phones. Backup and sync is a major issue for these consumers. There is absolutely a need for this type of service, but is there a market? Especially at the price? Flickr offers a nice iPhone app and a terabyte of storage for free. Dropbox offers the Camera Upload feature and expands storage the more you use it. Apple offers Photostream and stores the last 1,000 shots you took. I'm not sure how many consumers will pay $5.99 per month when there are less expensive alternatives.

So where does that leave Revel?

Add metadata, RAW support and an integrated workflow with the Creative Cloud apps and I think there would be a market within the advanced amateur market. Especially designers and web developers that use Creative Cloud apps and are serious photographers, but not professionals.

But Adobe has conditioned these users that everything is now in the Creative Cloud. Subscriptions to Creative Cloud include access to all the apps, free fonts, storage, Behance's pro portfolio site and more. So I'm not sure these consumers are going to be excited to pay more money to Adobe, even if it solves a problem for them.

Could Adobe offer Revel as part of the Creative Cloud? Maybe. I could see them offer a version for free with CC, but still offer it to non-subscribers for $5.99 a month.

Considering all that Revel can do, I think $5.99 a month isn't bad for premium level pricing. But with so much competition, I think the free level needs to offer more monthly uploads if they want to attract new members. 

Which leaves me with one final question... 

Why hasn't Adobe crushed Flickr and the other online photo services?

This is the question I really can't answer. With all of the talent at Adobe and their unquestioned dominance of the photo editing market, why have they not destroyed competitors in this market. 

Revel is a start at addressing this hole in their product line. It will be interesting to see where Adobe goes from here. 

Bob Wertz

Husband, Dad (x3), Creative Director at @UofSC, Type Designer, Teacher and Volunteer. Blogs at Sketchbook B and Wanted in Columbia.