I’ve been searching for a simple easy, fast and good looking image gallery product for ages, and suddenly two alternatives have popped up out of nowhere. The first is the Simpleviewer/Porta combo, which you host yourself on your own web server. You can either use Porta on its own (it’s mind bogglingly simple to set up and use), or add in Simpleviewer for some sophisticated Flash effects. I personally prefer the plain vanilla gallery since it won’t break any browsers, and I still reckon that Flash navigation is a bit suspect. Nevertheless an excellent solution.
The second option is to use the new Bubbleshare service, which is also free but hosted by the company itself. Online photo album sharing really doesn’t get any easier than this, believe me. No account to set up, cool AJAX upload system (including an excellent bulk uploader), RSS so sharers can stay updated as images are uploaded and a superb blog code feature which lets you add a gallery to your own web site with a quick cut and paste. I got my small album up and running literally in 3 minutes! The only downside for the purist is the Google advertising alongside your images, but hey, a site’s gotta make a living, right?