Better Photo Sharing

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Illustration: John Kuczala
I live far away from my parents, which has always meant sizable phone bills and frequent vacations to Ohio instead of, say, Hawaii or Switzerland. In between the phone calls and visits, we send each other digital pictures to show off everything from new haircuts to that cute thing the dog did the other day.

However, taking pictures has always been easier than sharing them. E-mailing takes forever, and sometimes my parents can't even open the attachments. Luckily, today's photo-sharing services make showing pictures to friends and family fast and easy.

I reviewed four services that go beyond traditional photo sharing: HeyPix, Flickr, OurPictures, and Google's Hello (which works in tandem with its photo organizer, Picasa). All of them provide at least some advanced features, such as blog support, instant messaging, chat, and camera-phone sharing. With almost every one, I found a unique feature or two that I really liked. And one service proved to be even more captivating than a TBS movie marathon.

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