Three new gallery sites have appeared on my radar screen as the scramble for the billions of film camera dollars that used to go to your neighbourhood drug or film store are now headed for harvesting at your drugstore, online or on your home printer. A number of film, drug, and electronic stores are now doing the Firefly, Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly thing and offering a website where users can store, display and share their pictures for free and print them for a fee. Remarkably – one of the best and most sociable of the gallery sites, Flickr, does not appear to have an in-house printing operation. Rather they appear, like Menalto Gallery, the free PHP-based gallery software which we use here at thePhotofinishes.com/gallery, to provide links to designated print services like Shutterfly, QOOP, Target etc.
And that may have set a precedent. The three new services are in the business of allowing users to create for free (or in deluxe style for a fee) their choice of invitation, greeting card, album, book of images, picture and/or video keepsake – in fact you name it, add pictures to it and either Picaboo (books primarily), SmileBox or Tabblo will have one of those ready to accept your pictures (and video so that you can then dispatch them by email or snail mail (after printing by guess who ?) to some (unsuspecting!??) recipient(s).
This is an interesting trend in imagetaking and printing – so we shall keep an open eye on this.
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