Tabblo tableaux

Tabblo tableaux

After a while, all these photo sharing-printing-blogging-whatevering sites begin to look alike. So anything even remotely unusual that crosses my in-box manages to arouse a modest level of interest, at least until I've beaten it to death with all the zeal of a three-year-old at a xylophone.

Such is my response to Tabblo, a novel-ish new photo Web site announced today that I've been beating on for a few days. Unlike most sites--I hesitate to call them competitors, because Tabblo provides hooks for integrating with Picasa and Flickr--Tabblo isn't designed to be a repository (though it can) or an outlet for narcissists in search of voyeurs (though it can be this as well). Instead, it lets you pool photos with friends, relatives, whomever, and create custom pages dubbed, unsurprisingly, Tabblos. Mix and match. You can share Tabblos online, buy a poster (for $8, $10, and $20, depending upon page size), and eventually prints. (I'm sure photo tchotchkes will soon follow.)

Right now, there isn't much to Tabblo: two handfuls of prefab layouts and themes that you mix and match; text captions with preset fonts and positioning; and tools to crop, rotate, or add special effects. It could really use some basic retouching tools, and the templates and themes need to be more customizable. But the art is a little more elegant than your run-of-the-mill snapshot dumping ground, the posters are a great idea, and the company isn't trying to hold you captive. It's definitely worth checking out, at least once it's more fully baked.

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