Snapfish makes its way across the Pacific

HP has opened an Australian version of its popular online print sharing site, Snapfish.

Snapfish.com.au has been in test mode for the past couple of weeks but made its debut this week.

Users that go to the site can order prints of their photos at 19cents each. They will also be able to turn photos into about a dozen personalised items such as calendars (from $19.95), mugs (from $17.95), t-shirts (from $24.95) and key rings (from $3.95). A more personalised Australian touch in the form of stubby holders will be offered soon.

Like Yahoo's Flickr service, Snapfish will also offer free online sharing of photos, with no size limits. It will also offer free unlimited storage. The service will remain free providing users remain active members. HP has determined an active member to be one who orders a product off the site, even if it is a single 19cent print, at least once per year.

Bala Parthasarathy, VP of Online Imaging at HP, and a founder of Snapfish before its acquisition by HP last year, said the Snapfish.com.au site was a logical step for the company. "We have 100,000 Australian users already signed up to our US Web site."

Making the service available locally was a better way to service existing and new customers, he said.

The local site will save customers money largely on shipping costs, he said. But there will also be an added convenience: HP has also partnered with Rabbit Photo so that customers who are in a rush can order images online and then pick them up at their nearest Rabbit store.