Phanfare is a photo-sharing service with lots of potential. The company relaunched their product in January 2007 with enhanced sharing capabilities and a free 1GB version meant to entice users who are not ready to pay $55 per year for unlimited storage. The company found that the first version of its service didn't make it easy enough for its 11,000 paying members to share their hosted media with each other. Sharing usually had to be done by manually emailing password-protected links to family and friends. These emails would get lost, and with them, the URLs and passwords contained within.
The new version of Phanfare addresses this issue by integrating social networking functionality that enables users to create connections with one another and specify which content they want to make available to their Phanfare contacts. The photo sharing capabilities are very similar to Facebook's, although users have more control on who sees which particular content.
Phanfare also allows users to store photos and videos in a application on the desktop. It then syncs the media automatically with the web. Currently, this desktop client is only available for the PC but the company has been working on a version for the Mac as well.
Akin to SmugMug, Phanfare converts the videos to Flash allowing them to be easily viewed online; users can also download them in their original form. There is also no Phanfare Facebook application or iPhoto plugin, but these too may be available in the future.
A plethora of other competitors offer desktop photo storage and management applications. Some include: Shutterfly, Snapfish, Kodak, and Picasa. Online players include Fabrik, Flickr, SmugMug, PBase, and Fotki
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