AOL Relaunches Photo Service

America Online Thursday relaunched its photo-sharing service, where consumers can store an unlimited number of digital pics and create photo albums. Known to AOL subscribers as "You've Got Pictures," the service is now named "AOL Pictures," and will be marketed as a free service along with all its other free services.

The Web-based, redesigned application required AOL to scrap the old system and start anew, according to a company spokeswoman, who added that the benefits would be clear to consumers. "It makes viewing and sharing photos faster and easier," she said.

New drag and drop features have been added to simplify picture arrangement and organization, while the system no longer required those who receive images or photo albums to sign-in.

Established features consist of integrated photo sharing between various AOL tools like mail and AIM; mobile photo access; an image editor; and slideshow features including a one-click speed adjustment and ability to expand windows to a full-screen slideshow.

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According to recent phone survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation for America Online, nearly three-quarters--73 percent--of U.S. consumers say they'll send photos to friends and family over the holidays, and one in four profess to using the Web to send digital photos through e-mail, instant messages, and/or online photo albums.

According to AOL, the service currently has some six million monthly visitors, and stores nearly 300 million photos.

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