Good image hosting is hard to find

Recently, we’ve been trying to unload stuff we no longer need/want onto eBay and Craigslist. Being the meticulous/neurotic/obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I like to provide no fewer than 10-15 high-quality photos of each item we list (depending on the item, of course). There is absolutely no good, easy, or efficient way to do this. Let me say that again: in 2010, there is no easy way to take images off a digital camera and post them to a site where people buy stuff.

Here’s the thing that kills me, though. There are currently at least three services in existence today that could implement the feature I’m talking about in a day or less. In different ways, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, and Dropbox are all great at what they do. But for whatever reason, none of them give you a one-click solution to embed a grid of thumbnails that link back to the high-resolution versions. Flickr and Picasa give you the HTML to embed images in a lame way, but it’s less useful than you would think.

What I want is something that works like this:

  1. Take pictures with my digital camera.
  2. Transfer pictures to my computer with USB card reader.
  3. Make quick adjustments to pictures: rotation, color, etc.
  4. Some app uploads pictures to a photo hosting service.
  5. I get a <table> of thumbnails that are all linked up.

The HTML code that gets generated by the process would be intentionally simple. Both eBay and Craigslist impose lots of restrictions on the HTML they allow, so the solution would have to keep that in mind. Having said that, I think Picasa would be the most ideal place to implement something like this. They already offer a different feature that’s similar to what I want, but it requires too many extra steps for me to get really enthusiastic about.

The latest version of Picasa for Mac (3.6.7 for me) has an option to export an entire folder as an HTML page. Cool. The only problem is that I then have to upload all the generated images to my hosting space and search-and-replace on the HTML to point the links and images to the URL where all the stuff has been uploaded. It’s a bit tedious, but it works. That’s where I’m at right now, and that’s where I expect to be a year from now. I couldn’t help but think that there’s a better way, though.

One of the coolest features of Picasa is single-click syncing with Picasa Web Albums. All the image resizing and uploading is taken care of by toggling one switch. You can edit photos from inside Picasa and make all the simple adjustments you want, and those changes get synced up automatically. It’s way cool. Google gives you 1 GB of storage for free, and an extra 20 GB is only $5/year. The only thing they need is another option that says grab simplistic, dumbed-down HTML table of this gallery for embedding into eBay or Craigslist.

Until that happens, I’m off to spend entirely too much time generating pages of thumbnails for our virtual garage sale.

    • Cool! I wasn’t even aware that an API existed for Picasa Web Albums. They have a Java client library available, which is perfect. I might have to get hacking on this.