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Picture Perfect on the Web

By Stephen H. Wildstrom Q.Reader Stephen Pred writes: My son graduated from college Monday, and I've got a slew of photos to share with the family. What is your recommended method for doing this through the Internet? I got a Google (GOOG) Gmail account to take advantage of its 2 gigabytes of free storage, but I can't figure out how to use that space. And Google's support team gave me a useless reply.

Besides, I realized others can't access my space without my password, so that was a dumb idea. I tried, but uploading the photos didn't work.

A. All that space Google (or Hotmail (MSFT), Yahoo! (YHOO), or any other Web-based mail service) gives you is intended only for storage of your own e-mail messages. To share anything stored there, you would have to give out your password and, as you note, that's not a good idea. Furthermore, the mail format isn't well suited to picture-sharing.

But there are good alternatives. All of the big online photo-printing services -- Kodak (EK) EasyShare Gallery (formerly Ofoto), Shutterfly, and Snapfish (now owned by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)) -- let you post pictures on the Web and make them available to others. But these sites are really designed mostly to sell prints, t-shirts, mugs, albums, and other photo-related items.

WINDOWS ONLY. A number of other sites are designed primarily for photo-sharing, though, of course, all will also sell prints. My favorite is Photosite, which lets you display up to 150 pictures in a free account and will cheerfully sell you a premium account if you want to post more. It offers easy uploads and lots of options for display, including slide shows and many styles of albums.

The only catch is that uploading and managing pictures requires Internet Explorer and Windows. However, any browser on any system can view the pictures. Wildstrom is Technology & You columnist for BusinessWeek. You can contact him at

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