Kodak Focuses on a Digital Future

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - No newcomer to imaging, Kodak Co. is jumping pixels first into new media, revamping its Web site and designing smarter digital images.

For example, Kodak has a plan to help you replace the shoebox photo graveyard with an intelligent storage system. And often, that storage will be on the Web, suggests Dan Carp, chief executive officer and president of Eastman Kodak. He outlined Kodak's predictions for digital images at a keynote address here at the Seybold publishing conference.

Getting Organized

Metadata--information that describes other information--will help people search databases for appropriate images, as well as protect image copyrights, Carp said.

"All pictures could be embedded with a permanent record of the names of the people in the shot, their e-mail addresses, the name of the photographer, where and when the picture was taken, and even a sound file or a Java applet to enhance the viewing experience," Carp said.

It could organize your photos immediately, he noted. "You could dump all your photos into an 'electronic shoebox,' which is sophisticated image management software that will identify them based on the categories you designate."

Or, though a technique called Interactive Content Imaging, you can build a virtual scrapbook, he said. Through a drag-and-drop process, you'll collect images, video, text, and audio in one place.

Electronic watermarks will provide image copyright protection, he added. "We are creating a 'smarter' watermark that will actually block unauthorized usage or even report it back to the image owner," Carp said.

Other Kodak priorities include 3-D imaging and improving the quality of pictures on personal digital assistants and other wireless devices.

Share Photos on TV Too

Carp's speech also previewed The Kodak Channel, an Internet cable channel for sharing digital images through your TV.

"Using your regular cable remote control, you can view and organize your family photos on your television," Carp says.

Well, maybe not yet. Developed with Scientific America, the cable initiative will not be ready for a few months. When it is, Kodak claims Channel customers will be able to download images from a digital camera directly into a cable TV set-top box and access Web content as well.

More imminent is an update to Kodak.com at the end of September. Following the June launch of Kodak.com's printing services, the revamped site has a more photo-centric graphical interface that centers on PictureCenter.

"PictureCenter is the place where you can do things like make a color photo black and white, or turn your photo into a cartoon," says Sharon Tczap, manager worldwide marketing and communications, Kodak Digital & Applied Imaging.

Tabs let you manage and edit photos, add filters and other effects, or share images on postcards and puzzles. You can store a few favorite photos in an on-site folder.

"You could put a few favorite photos there to share or to work on at another time," Tczap says. Kodak plans to add community services, such as chats with professional photographers who will offer tips.

Kodak also recently announced its Auto Album software, a free downloadable program that can resize and fit your 4-by-6-inch images onto an 8 1/2-by-11-inch picture page. Then you can print the picture page or order a two-sided print for about US$5.99 from Kodak.com.

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