Shutterfly, the popular photo uploading and sharing website, is giving Facebook users an easy way to create tangible photo albums from their uploaded pictures. They have integrated, their Simple Path photo-book creator with the social networking site such that now Facebook users can access all of their uploaded photos on Shutterfly.
All users have to do is log into Facebook connect from the Shutterfly website, and all of their Facebook photos automatically pop up as options to add to the photo book. The user selects the photos they want to use, and Shutterfly creates an album out of them that the user can then edit and personalize with captions. It is almost like virtual scrapbooking, and it seems very user friendly and simple to use.
The Simple Path photo book service also lets customers access photos saved on their computer, their Shutterfly account, or from any other Shutterfly Share site. That way, users can mingle photos from all different places to create a one of a kind photo album. President and CEO of Shutterfly, Jeffrey Housebold, said “[w]e know that consumers store photos in multiple locations, therefore we are offering a photo book solution that can access users’ photos wherever they might be stored.” Because the photos might all be different sizes and resolutions, the service creates a preliminary layout placement for them and users take over from there.
Though this is a great and easy way to create tangible and lasting memories with your photos, there is a paradox between the traditional printing of photos and posting photos on the internet. It is arguable that Facebook has essentially eroded the need to print photos to share, because by posting them on your profile they are instantly accessible to all your friends (or some, depending on your privacy settings). Remember when you could order doubles of your photo prints from the local pharmacy, and then any picture with more than two people in it yielded an argument over who got to keep the duplicate print?
Now you just tag your friends in the photos and everyone has a copy. Also, when they are posted online, you can show them to anyone anywhere at any time with the help of portable computers and mobile social networking applications. Physical prints degrade over time and are subject to fire, wind and floods but digital copies remain in pristine condition forever. On the other hand, for memories of holidays and special occasions there is nothing like a sweet photo album to flip through with loved ones.
Along with the launch of this new service, Shutterfly is also looking to boost its Facebook presence by starting a campaign looking for the most tagged person on Facebook. Users must join the group, “Are you the most tagged person on Facebook?” and a winner will be chosen when the contest ends on August 6, 2010. Twelve runner-ups will win one photo book, and one grand prize winner will receive five photo books of varying sizes. Better get tagging!