A Short Course Book
Displaying & Sharing
Your Digital Photos

Sending Photos to Others—Instant Messenger

When you select a command to send a photo or share files, AOL's Instant Messenger (top) and Windows Live Messenger (bottom) open a window into which you can drag and drop images.
Instant messaging, often called just IM (eye-M) lets you chat privately with another individual, usually by typing short messages, but increasingly with voice and video. Typically, your IM program alerts you when others on your private buddy list are on-line so you can start a chat session with anyone of them. Initially available only on computers, IM is now also available on wireless devices including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones. Digital photography and IM come together in a number of ways. For example, you can use a photo to identify yourself to others, but perhaps best of all, you can also exchange photos or even slide shows while you chat.

The big name services in IM are Windows Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, AOL's AIM, Jabber, MySpace, Google Talk and iChat. All are free but there is no universal compatibility so you can only IM with people using the same service you use and any others that it may support. For example, Microsoft and Yahoo interoperate as do Apple's iChat and AOL's AIM. Trillian, Cerulean Studio's instant messaging application is one exception. It lets you chat with users of all major messaging systems using one interface.

Although details vary somewhat, you can share photos and other files with another user. For example, with many of these programs you can open a photo viewing screen and then drag and drop photos onto the screen so they can be seen by others. On some systems if you drag and drop more than one photo they are displayed as small thumbnails in a filmstrip with the selected one enlarged. Also, some programs let you display all of the images as a slide show. How long it takes to share images depends on their size and the connection speeds at both ends. The same etiquette rules discussed in the section on e-mailing images apply here.

You can usually send large images because they are sent directly between the two computers, not through the messaging service. Since the services have no costs associated with file transfers, they either have no limits on file sizes or very generous ones. This is a good way to exchange large files for printing.

Apple's iChat has an iChat Theater (above) you use to share photos from iPhoto, QuickTime movies, slides from Keynote, or content from any iChatenabled application. This feature works with any iChat or AOL AIM buddy.

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