Hewlett-Packard (HP) has launched an Australian version of its Snapfish online photo printing service. The localised Web site, www.snapfish.com.au, allows Australian Snapfish users to upload digital photos to share them with friends or order locally produced prints.
Starting from AU$0.19 for a standard 6 x 4 (10 x 15cm) print, excluding shipping, Snapfish significantly undercuts the normal every day prices offered by its major competitors, such as Kodak (AU$0.49 per print) and Harvey Norman (AU$0.29 per print). Up to 60 photos can be delivered by standard mail (1-3 working days) for AU$2.95 or Express Post for AU$6.95
Alternatively, users can elect to pick up their prints at the Rabbit Photo outlet of their choice for the higher cost of AU$0.29 per photo. Snapfish claims the prints should be available for pick-up close to an hour after ordering. Larger-sized prints and posters are also available, as well as personalised calendars, mugs, t-shirts, coasters, key rings and specialty items such as Christmas cards and tree ornaments. A price list for these items along with associated postage costs can be found on the Snapfish site.
Basic photo editing tools are also available through Snapfish that allow you to remove red-eye, correct colour, fill flash, crop, rotate and add borders to your prints before you print or share them.
There is no limit to the number of photos Snapfish members can store online, as long as they use the printing service at least once per year.
Like other free photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Webshots, Snapfish also allows users to share their photos with others, but unlike its competitors, Snapfish photos are not publicly available, so only those friends users invite to view their photos will be able to view them. Friends, in turn, will be able to order prints of those photos if they wish and have them posted or ready for pick-up at the outlet of their choice.
This share globally/print locally concept is expected to be a particularly attractive feature for Australians with friends and family in the US, UK and Europe, where Snapfish has been established for some time. Snapfish launched in 2000, but has grown significantly since HP bought the company last year. Bala Parthasarathy, HP Vice President Online Imaging and a Snapfish founder, says that there are currently 33 million Snapfish members uploading over five million prints per day.
Parthasarathy claims that 100,000 Australians have previously signed up through Snapfish's US site, but now they will be able to have their photos printed locally. HP has also launched Snapfish in New Zealand, however they have yet to affiliate with a local retailer there, so prints will only be available through the mail. The Australian and New Zealand Web sites are Snapfish's first services in the Asia Pacific region.
New members will receive 20 free prints from Snapfish when they join and more printing credits if they get friends to join as well.