I've been playing around with the photo album in my MSN Space and have begun to get interested in online photo sharing. I've never been big on taking pictures. The last time I took pictures were on my vacation in Hawaii with the ex last year but I didn't even get them after the breakup. Before that it was Freaknik in 1998. However after playing around with the MSN Spaces photo album I feel like sharing some pics other than RSS Bandit screenshots as part of my space. I'd definitely appreciate any tips from folks out there on purchasing a digital camera.
Once I was done geeking out about the MSN Spaces photo album I decided to check out what other hosted blogging services provided with regards to photo sharing. This is where I found out about Hello and BloggerBot. For those who aren't aware of it, Hello is an application for sharing images with people in real-time. A sort of instant messaging client with a photo slideshow feature. The BloggerBot feature of Hello allows you to post images to your blog hosted on Blogger.com from the Hello application. This integration makes sense since the company that created Hello was recently purchased by Google.
During my next daily rap session with Mike about Spaces, I brought up the photo sharing features of Hello and its integration with Blogger. Mike pointed out that a similar user experience was already possible using MSN. This is where I first learned about MSN Premium. The MSN Premium service is an MSN offering that provides a bunch of value adds to browsing the Web for under $10 a month. It includes a firewall, anti-virus software, Encarta, Microsoft Money, Outlook plugins and a number of photo management features. I tried the service yesterday and so far I like it. The MSN Outlook Connector which allows you to access Hotmail from Outlook is quite nice.
The photo sharing features of MSN Premium come in a couple of flavors. The first part is MSN Messenger Photo Swap which enables you to initiate a photo sharing session with any MSN Messenger user. This seems to be provide an equivalent experience to the real-time photo sharing features in Hello. Here is a screenshot of Mike Torres using Messenger Photo Swap to show me his vacation pics. The second major photo sharing feature of MSN premium is called Photo Email. With Photo Email you can send photo slideshows to people as regular HTML email. The email slide shows are a compressed version of a slide show of the full resolution images hosted on an automatically generated Web site which is linked to from the email. People can then view the full slide show then either download the images for printing or order prints online. Here is a screenshot of Photo Email I sent to myself of a modified version of RSS Bandit.
The ActiveX slideshow control used to host the images on the automatically generated website is extremely similar to that used by MSN Spaces. It shouldn't be too hard to send some sort of MSN Spaces photo email to invite people to view the photo album on your Space. I should remember to add this as a feature request on the MSN Spaces Wiki.
Then there is still the question of how one sends a picture to their MSN Spaces blog as a blog posting the same way Hello allows one to do so using the BloggerBot. The answer is the email posting feature of MSN Spaces. Simply enable Mobile Publishing on Mobile Settings tab of the Settings page of the MSN Space. Enter an email address (e.g. your mobile phone email if you are a moblogger) and turn on “publish immediately.” Enter a secret word. You can now blog direct to that email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) with a photo attachment and/or text. The subject of the e-mail becomes the subject of the post.