Marcus Womack, Josh Hepfer, Mike Bohlander and Ray Fortna were core members of the team at iLike, the Seattle online social music service that sold to MySpace in 2009.

Today, they launched the first public trials of Familiar, a new online photo service that turns your computer into a “social picture frame.” What that means is that your closest friends and family members can help “program” the photos you see on your screensaver.

“Mom and dad, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters can all get connected on Familiar so their screensaver is personalized with the best family photos,” explains Womack, the former vice president and general manager at iLike.

Marcus Womack

Formerly known as Picadee, the company has other connections to iLike since its angel backers include twin brothers and former iLike executives Ali and Hadi Partovi.

Familiar, which requires a download of the screensaver app, integrates with Flickr and Facebook and allows individuals to self select the people who can access the photos. That solves the privacy problem found on other photo sites where some parents are reluctant to share personal photos.

“Many families have a connected computer in their home, office and maybe even on the kitchen counter,” Womack noted in a blog post. “Wouldn’t it be great if that computer became a picture frame when it’s not being used?”

In an email to GeekWire, Womack noted that they are considering a number of revenue models, from a freemium service to digital goods. “In the near term we’re going to focus on growing the service and delighting customers with new features,” he said.

Here’s a closer look at how Familiar works.

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  • Trevin

    Congrats to Marcus and the entire team at Familiar! This is a great idea and will find a place on my parents’ PCs so I can stop dealing with that crazy Samsung digital picture frame I bought them in 2007 :)

  • daryn

    Very cool, good luck to Marcus and crew! I run screenstagram, the instagram-based screensaver that Barbarian Group wrote, this will definitely replace that. If you can magically change my parents’ iOS/android backgrounds too, you’ve got a winner :)

  • algard

    Cheers Marcus, Mike and team. Think you’ve found a significant unmet need, and it’ll become more apparent over time.

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