Many times I see my friends with digital camera and tons of pictures on computer and I do enjoy this kind of peeking into their lives when someone is showing me pictures on PC. But hey it is 2006, there is better way to do that. Sharing is good (and you know that!) so lets see the possibilities.
There are several web sites dedicated photo sharing. All of them allow users to create an account and then upload pictures and presenting them in a nice collection/slideshow. All this with unique and often very readable URL so you can share with your friends immediately. Some of them offers more.
Flickr! - Is the same as YouTube to video sharing. One of the first web sites to ride on the wave of success. Later bought by Yahoo and still one of the best (and likely the best) site for photo sharing. Many applications supports export of your PC gallery straight to Flickr!. Besides classical functions Flickr! offers services like printing of pictures, make favorites, albums, by geotagging your photos you can actually see world map with pictures positioned to the actual place you've taken them. What I like on Flickr! is the streamline, you do not have to create albums just take the pictures and save them in your photostream. Also the community is great, you can search for your friends, people with similar interests, join various groups and enjoy this sharing revolution!
Picasaweb - Relatively new player on the field, but very capable. This one is owned by google which means one big plus. You can use the same account you have for you gmail, google talk, docs and spreadsheet, your blog, Calendar or any other service run by Google. This is one of the reason I prefer this one. It is then very easy to setup your (google enabled) Mum and show her how to post photos online. Picasaweb offers great amount of space for pictures for free. If you shrink you photos to 1024/768 pixels 250MB is enough for couple of hundreds of photos. Need more? Go Pro with just about 25$ a year for 6.5GB. Flickr! offers similar service as well. With PicasaWeb you can create albums, tag your photos with labels, search (it is google!) and print as well. The number of features is still growing as PicasaWeb is live project. Nice feature I like is you can make some other people favorites and them have any activity on their albums emailed to you.
PicasaWeb has also nice complementary program called Picasa and you can get it here. This program runs on PC and nicely handles importing of all your photos, slide show and basic photo operations like cropping, red eye removal and contrast settings. Picasa offers export to PicasaWeb, Flickr! and couple of other web sites.
I'm sure there are other websites dedicated to photo sharing, but I guess these two are the most popular ones. Once you decided where you want to store photos, process is easy.
- obtain account - for Flickr! it is Yahoo account, for PicasaWeb get and Google Account
- install software - Not sure about Mac (but I think iPhoto should be ready for both of the services), on Windows this is clearly Picasa. On Linux you can use either Picasa or F-spot
- import all you pictures, select the ones you are interested in and export them vie menu to one of those services.