You may know that Adobe has indicated thatthey are working on a way to sync our Lightroom catalog to mobile devices via the cloud. But did you know that you can already do this – or at least if you are using a Mac? Mosaic, a New Hampshire company founded by Gerard Murphy and Andy Young has been “on a mission to make digital asset management easier for photographers, while enabling the anywhere access that we have come to expect.” While their current offering is just for Mac users, they also have a Windows version in development.
UPDATE 7/17/13: The Windows version has been released!
There are two components to Mosaic’s offering:
1. Online photo backup, to back up your master raw or JPEG photos.
Mosaic customers can automatically backup everything as it is in Lightroom, or selectively back up using Lightroom metadata, such as stars, pick flags, date or collection.
2. Viewing of your entire Lightroom catalog on Mosaic’s website, and on your iDevices.
Mosaic automatically uploads your photos (actually the JPEG standard preview that Lightroom builds) from Lightroom to the Mosaic website for your private viewing, and automatically syncs these for viewing with the Mosaic App on your iDevices.
Naturally, how much backup storage and mobile device access you get is based on how much you pay. You can start out with the free iDevice app and free syncing of your 2,000 most recent photos in your Lightroom catalog to your iDevice and Mosaic’s website.
I can’t experiment with the product yet, since I am on Windows, but a couple months ago Gerard demonstrated Mosaic for me over Skype. I was really impressed with how seamlessly the upload to the cloud and the download to an iDevice works. Once you have it installed, you don’t have to tell Lightroom to do anything — it automatically does the master photo backups and the syncing to your iDevice in the background. And as you edit a photo in Lightroom, your changes appear online and on your device very quickly.
I have lots of junk photos in my Lightroom catalog (that I really will delete one of these days!), so I didn’t really like that my entire catalog would be synced to my iPad rather than just a portion that I select. I do, however, like that with the app I can sort by rating, flags, and collections, and now catalogs and folders, so I could at least get to just the photos I really want people to see. Gerard indicated that they chose to sync the entire catalog so that the process would require no intervention from the user. I definitely see his point — once Mosaic is installed, you don’t have to do anything for this sync to take place.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on Mosaic View as it develops! Right now you can’t rate, flag, keyword, or otherwise work on your photos from your mobile device or the website, but I did see suggestions on their website that more is coming!