MySpace has partnered with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to bring print-on-demand capability to the popular social network. That’s right. Those embarrassing photos of you Xeroxing your rear end at the office Christmas party aren’t just on your receptionist’s MySpace albums anymore. They’ll be printable so that even those who haven’t found the Internet yet can see them.
In all seriousness, this means that MySpace, home to over 4 billion images already, may fast become a hub for people looking for an easy way to share and print photos and information online. MySpace is already working with a user base that remains one of the largest in the social networking space, which means that this partnership puts both MySpace and HP at the forefront of the online print on-demand market.
The partnership starts off with a simple “Click to Print” icon on MySpace blogs, comments, photos and mail. This will allow users a one click way to print from MySpace. This is where it might make some users nervous. In order for the technology to work, HP and MySpace will be “unlocking” user profile data to format for printing. What this means for users of MySpace with private profiles is that their friends will be able to print their profile photos once they are allowed to view their profile page. I’m not sure this will cause Facebook and Beacon level angst among users, but I’m thinking MySpace and HP might want to make this opt-in for those with private profiles before launch just in case.
In the meantime, this will be rolling out just in time for the holidays, scheduled for November of this year. A future phase of the roll out will include a way to print your MySpace photos on actual merchandise such as hats, mugs, and calendars. This will make gift giving easy for friends and family, but for now it is strictly print to paper. The MySpace and HP partnership will roll out the “Click to Print” feature in America, as well as parts of Australia, Canada and Western Europe.
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