Yahoo! Adds Photo Sharing To E-Mail

Yahoo! went live this week with an e-mail service add-on intended to help users fluidly send and share their digital photos. The beta, called PhotoMail, scans photos on a user's hard drive, and allows them to drag and drop select pictures into an e-mail message without adding onerous attachments.

The service--which can search through a user's Yahoo! storage locker as well as Yahoo!'s database of some 1.5 billion pictures--allows users to include up to 300 photos within an e-mail in thumbnail version. People can also add captions and borders to pictures with the software. Because Yahoo! Photos has unlimited storage, users can save as many pics as they like.

Yahoo! plans to tell the world about PhotoMail with a viral marketing campaign in the weeks ahead, according to a Yahoo! spokeswoman.

The photo-sharing market is less than bare with or without Yahoo! and its improved service. Google has Picasa, which it bought last year, and MSN offers a paid service. Other rivals include Kodak's Ofoto and CNET's Webshots.



Users can download PhotoMail from the Yahoo! Mail site by clicking on an "Insert Photos" button, at which point they can either get the feature with Yahoo!'s Quick Select tool--which lets users attach and share images from Yahoo! Photos--or just get photos from the Web using Yahoo! Image Search.

After the desired number of photos have been added, the user can access the new PhotoMail Tools menu to select one of three thumbnail sizes, add borders, rotate the image, and enhance the image quality. The thumbnails should not be much larger than 5K, a company spokeswoman said.

Recipients of the e-mails can open and save the images to their own Yahoo! Photo collection, print them, and order them online. They can also click on the thumbnail to bring up larger photos from senders' Yahoo! accounts if they only want to see the image in a larger format.

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