Want to see the real time evolution of online storage into a packaged application? Check out a couple of new online photo sites. The latest twist: enabling users to build picture-based timelines (OurStory) or digital picture collages (Tabblo).

Will either hit it big? I don’t know. As the Washington Post’s Leslie Walker noted in her story about these startups

I tried both and found these . . . to be more fun . . . than the traditional album format used at established sites such as Snapfish. . . . In fact, when Snapfish recently notified me that if I didn’t buy something . . . it would delete all my online pictures, I let the account go. . . . I never made much use of my pictures stored on the Web. [my bold]

Just as the iPod is a cool storage app, entreprenuers are working to turn large scale online storage into coolness consumers will buy. Do collages seem hopelessly retro? Step into any large American crafts store and see how many cubic meters are devoted to scrapbook-making, the non-virtual equivalent. It’s huge.

Some site will hit on the right model for personal digital image storage and display and make it is big as it can be. One thing we can be sure of: they won’t be using name-brand storage. It costs too much. And that will drive another nail into the coffin of the Big Iron business model.

One More Thing
Come to think of it, large, highly profitable picture sharing sites already exist. For more about that business model, check out this clip from the Broadway musical Avenue Q called The Internet Is For Porn. Not for the easily offended or cubicle dwellers! Requires RealPlayer [boo].