Ovi's blog on the web and design

Online photo sharing done right

For the last few years I’ve just been keeping folders of my digital photos on an external harddrive. At the same time I’ve kept my eyes open for good photo organizing software to use, but there was always a key component that they all seemed to be missing: a simple way to share photos with family and friends.

My latest attempt was with Picasa 3 and I think I may have found a good fit. It’s one of the better tools out there for organizing photos, but it’s best feature is it’s Web Albums functionality where you’re able to upload to an online account either handpicked photos, whole folders, or flagged photos and to send the website link to friends and family.

The funny thing is that it’s done in such a simple way by today’s standards… the photos are uploaded to a web server and viewed online as a photo gallery. Windows Vista promised a way to do this directly from desktop folders, but it’s still not possible now almost three years later (even though it’s now a feature of the next version of Windows). All it took to do this was a storage medium and software that tied an online account into a desktop app. And Google with Picasa made it work together in a simple, seamless process.

And by doing this, Google was able to accomplish something else Microsoft’s been trying to do with Windows Media Center for years: get the photos on your TV. Because you can upload your photos online, if you have a Tivo, you can sign in to your Google account through it and view your online photos as a slideshow.

The next step may be to somehow share the online photo gallery with social networks like Facebook so you don’t have to manually upload photos to your other online accounts that have photo gallery features.

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