Web Photo Fixers

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Pro: Jam-packed with features, including collages, slide shows, and photo sharing.

Con: Frustrating user interface; sluggish.

Buried in the Picture2life beta I tried are occasional, tantalizing hints of a pleasing app. But they're overwhelmed by an annoying, baffling user interface.

The good news: Picture2Life is full of stuff, including one of the longest special effects lists here. A unique collage creator lets you insert several photos into a canned or custom-built template. Like Photoshop Express, it has built-in tools for storing, organizing, and sharing photos. I loved the ability to save a sequence of effects you've applied to one photo--say, cropping it, giving it a sepia look, and adding a border--and transfer it to others with one click.

But Picture2Life's Flickr-import interface is so confusing that I thought I'd failed to do the job when I'd actually succeeded. This is also the only service here that doesn't show what an effect will look like on your photo until after you've applied it (at least undoing is easy). A prominent button lets you see pictures at full size, but you get no on-screen controls for shrinking or magnifying them. The link to online help vanished when I was in editing mode, and the useful-looking Learn More buttons didn't do anything when I clicked them. (Picture2Life's makers tell me they're working on a version that fixes these issues and improves the interface.)

Like FotoFlexer, Picture2Life automatically downsamples your high-res photographs, a step that speeds up image processing; you can override it, but only up to 1600 by 1200 pixels. I wouldn't bother, though, since other services match most of Picture2Life's capabilities without the hassles.

Former PC World Editor in Chief Harry McCracken now blogs at his own site, Technologizer.

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