AOL Pictures, the online photo site by AOL, launched today to offer a number of new features and a totally new look. AOL Pictures now allows users to share picture gallery photos openly on the web which is a huge stride in the right direction as it works to gain ground on other sites that have been enabling similar sharing features for a few years.
AOL Pictures also offers an Ajax interface an has introduced tags (single item and multi-select tagging), comments and subscriptions, which are standard web 2.0 features but may be new to AOL users. AOL Pictures allows you to edit photos inline which I found extremely helpful as I currently have to use Preloadr to edit my Flickr photos outside of Flickr site itself. Though it is worth noting, the AOL Pictures edit features only works on the Internet Explorer browser since it requires an ActiveX control. Interestingly, Photobucket, another photo site, does not sport any of these features and boasts 25 million users - go figure.
As an avid Flickr user, I went into using AOL Pictures biased to Flickr. So at first it felt a little awkward to navigate and perform all the actions in AOL Pictures but after learning how it is set up I found it easy to use. I enabled the mobile upload feature and uploaded a number of photos with ease. AOL Pictures makes it easy to share photos via email which I plan on it using for sharing groups of photos with family and friends. Flickr does not offer easy sharing features for non-Flickr users. Since most of my family and friends outside of the web 2.0 echo chamber are non-Flickr users, from now on I am planning on sending my photos to both AOL Pictures and Flickr. TechCrunch was unimpressed by AOL Pictures' simple, non-fancy approach but softens to admit it could be just what AOL users are looking for. For more information and updates from AOL Pictures team, visit the AOL Pictures Blog.