Eastman Kodak, probably eager to download, organize and share their employees’ backlog of digital photos, courted Ofoto and merged with it in May, 2001. Like most other brides, Ofoto’s name was changed to Kodak EasyShare Gallery. So, when you do an online search for Ofoto com, don’t be surprised if you get a lot of links for Kodak.
What can you do with ofoto? You can store all of your digital photos online. You can organize the photos into virtual “albums” (like computer folders for files) to easier find just the right photo. You can tinker with the photo, such as remove the dreaded red-eye. You can view your photos on your mobile phone. You can even have your favorite mug put on a coffee mug, stickers, tote bags, postcards, or even a keepsake box. You can even (GASP) get your digital photos transformed into real photos. Frames, photo albums and collages that you hold in your hands, can also be purchased. Martha Stewart-flavored pictorial goods are also to be had.
If you just want to keep your digital photos digital, that’s fine. Kodak will let you keep galleries for free. But when you want the photos out in the real world, that’s when you have to pay. The costs are low. You already shelled out the most of your costs with buying the digital camera and your computer. As with any other web service, you do have to create an account with a username and password.
There has been some flak about Kodak deleting these online free galleries if they haven’t been turned into anything tangible in a certain period of time, but they have also won awards such as PC World’s One of the Best 100 Products of 2006, so caveat emptor. As there are many free image hosting services available on the web, like Photobucket, Kodak is not interested in deleting any of your images that could tempt you one day into making a Christmas card or unique gift out of.
The software to get started uploading, editing and storing your photos is free, but you do need Windows 98 or higher, or Mac OS 10.2.8 or higher. There is even free software link for Firefox 1.5 or higher users on the Kodak website to quickly help move your photos from their first home on your hard drive to their new homes in EasyShare.
Any digital photo albums you might already have can also be transferred. Kodak’s Help links on its website are easy to navigate and clear to read.
How your photos get from your digital camera to your hard drive differs from camera to camera. You’ll have to read the manual there. But everything, even making online photo albums, becomes easier and easier with practice.
Now I wish I had a digital camera!