Social networks replacing photo sharing and printing web sites?
It used to be that the only way to share online photos was by using a few photo printing sites that also allowed uploading and sharing of photos. But with many new kind of web sites specially social networking web sites new ways are now available for sharing of photo moments.
In the early days of the Internet when bandwidth was limited and storage expensive the options for sharing digital photos online were limited. You could use a few professional photo album web sites but they had to charge for their service since there was no business model that allowed them to provide that service for free. Advertisement back then generated less money than today and could not cover their bandwidth and storage cost.
The alternative to professional photo sharing web sites was to use one of the few photo printing web sites. These sites allow upload of photos for the purpose of ordering photo prints. Since uploading and short term storage of photos was needed for their photo printing service those sites could also offer photo sharing as a free added value service to their users that would attract more photo printers to their service and would also promote their brand name. Most of those web sites however only allowed photo sharing for a limited time basically meaning that photos uploaded to the site would be automatically deleted after a certain number of days usually 14 or 30 days.
As technology advanced the cost of bandwidth and storage dropped significantly. Today it is sometimes said that bandwidth the storage are literally free when measured on a per item or in our case per digital photo basis. The cost of building a service that allows users to upload an infinite number of photos and have them stored indefinitely on a server is manageable. Advertisement based business models can support the cost of such a service. It is not surprising that today there is a very large number of web sites offering free photo albums and photo sharing.
Social networks are one of the more used photo sharing web sites today. Although not their main feature photo sharing is part of the social interaction. Users can create photo albums and share them with the public or with their family and friends. Storage is infinite and photo albums are stored forever on a safe backed up server system.
The good old photo printing web sites found themselves in competition with many photo sharing web sites. In order to be able to keep up with the competition photo printing web sites today offer very complex photo album features. For example many offer server based photo processing allowing digital photo cropping and other effects like red eye removal. They have also tried to cooperate with the competition by providing what they know to provide best simply printing services. By integrating with other web sites they allow social media web sites for example to provide a print now option next to each photo that basically behind the scenes communicates back with their photo printing partner.
Danette Mckay explains about this subject in more depth at digital photo printing