Kodak Gallery photos in limbo as Shutterfly transfer begins

Jul 05, 2012 By Michelle Maltais, Los Angeles Times

If you're one of the nearly 70 million people who subscribed to the Kodak Gallery photo-sharing site, here's some bad news: It has officially closed.

But no worries. Those cherished set of family you uploaded to the site are safe, and you will be able to get them - eventually.

Your photos are among the 5 billion snapshots making the to the Shutterfly site starting this week from the Kodak site, which was permanently closed Monday.

The big question is when you get to see them again.

Shutterfly Inc. acquired bankrupt Co.'s online gallery service in April. If you've ever uploaded or even just viewed photos on the Kodak Gallery site with an account, you're counted among the millions moving to Shutterfly.

And what of your photos?

The photos of the most active gallery users will get and should move within a couple of weeks, said Geoffrey Weber, Shutterfly's . Less active users probably will get their notification within a couple of months.

If you've already created a Shutterfly account and linked your former Kodak account, you'll be able to get to your photos even though they haven't yet moved over to Shutterfly , the company said.

The Shutterfly page that lets you link your accounts has been down since Monday, frustrating those eager to get their Kodak photos. The company said Tuesday that it expects to restore the site this week.

When it is restored, it will ask you to provide the email address and password for your Kodak Gallery account. You will then have to sign in to your Shutterfly account. If you don't already have one, it will ask you to create one. The free Shutterfly accounts offer unlimited high-resolution photo storage; it makes its off photo books and other printed items.

If you do create a new Shutterfly account, be sure to use the same email address as the one you used for Kodak Gallery. The email address is what enables the accounts from the two sites to be connected - and the Kodak password is what you use to prove the Kodak photos are yours.

Shutterfly is offering 50 free prints for all new accounts.

If you don't create a Shutterfly account - or have one with a different - the photos will be transferred into a newly created . You will get an email with instructions on how to get to your photos.

Moving 5 billion photos from one of the biggest photo-sharing sites is no small undertaking.

"Think of a room filled with 10,000 hard drives," Shutterfly's Weber said.

It's akin to the amount of data contained in the Library of Congress' Web archive.

Shutterfly's own users have amassed 10 billion photos since the company's inception in 1999. With the absorption of Kodak's 5 billion photos, the company is increasing its photo collection 50 percent in a matter of months.

"It's an exciting thing to be part of," Weber said. "Just pulling this off is a neat trick."

Not everything from the Kodak Gallery will live on in Shutterfly. Projects such as slide shows and custom-made calendars have expired with the Kodak site, as have Kodak Gallery-branded mobile apps.

Also, Kodak wireless photo frames that used the gallery to share and update photos will not be supported by Shutterfly, the company said. But that doesn't exactly make them into useless bricks. You can, of course, still add photos to the frame using removable memory cards. And one that used to use the gallery - the Kodak Pulse Digital Frame, which is still supported by Kodak - will continue to connect to email and Facebook.

Shutterfly expects the photo transfer to be wrapped up before the end of the year, just in time to make Grandma and Grandpa a nice photo book for the holidays.

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