Canon has launched the beta version of a new image management platform, aiming to provide a central location for viewing photographs from a wide range of services and networks. Dubbed "Project 1709" — apparently only a working title — the site features heavy integration with Facebook, allowing users to view comments and likes on photos pulled from the service. It also includes proprietary search functionality, which uses pre-existing tags as well as EXIF data and other information to increase the accuracy of results.
Project 1709 is accepting invite requests from today — while versions are provided in both English and German, the only option in the "country" section of the registration form is "United Kingdom." As well as Facebook Connect, the site allows users to sign in using Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft accounts, perhaps an indicator of future integration with Picasa, Flickr, or the SkyDrive cloud storage service. According to Canon, Facebook will be supplemented by other third-party services as the beta test progresses, with a full public launch scheduled for 2013.