Target Unveils In-Store Facebook Photo Printing

Yesterday, Target and Facebook announced a new service to enable Facebook users to print their Facebook photos at in-store kiosks.

Grandma’s always hearing about the exciting developments in your life way after the fact. She doesn’t get your Farmville updates, nor does she keep up with your news feed. Hell, she probably still calls it “The Facebook.” And she certainly can’t log on to see your photos from last night (although that might be a good thing). Unless you decide to print them at home or struggle through an hour of trying to set her up with a Facebook account that she’ll never know how to use on her own, Grandma will be entirely oblivious to your online existence.

Until today.

Target has just announced Facebook connectivity with their in-store KODAK photo kiosks. Instead of bringing a USB with pre-selected photos to print out, shoppers can now log on at the kiosk and browse their photo albums directly using the new Social Network Connectivity software. All the KODAK kiosk print options, including standard photo paper, personalized greeting cards, calendars, picture movie DVDs, full-fledged KODAK photo books, and collages, can be fully integrated with your Facebook photos. Use will be limited to photo browsing, though, so sorry, addicts: no status updating at the KODAK kiosk.

This comes on the heels of Facebook’s recent decision to support photo downloads and allow high resolution photos, suggesting that something’s afoot. Clearly, Facebook is setting themselves up as the premier photo utility for its casual users – why go to Flickr, for example, if you’re already logged in to Facebook? – and these recent developments should attract the attention of the serious photog set, too.

But I think it might be something a bit more… pre-emptive. Wave might have fizzled, but Google’s supposed “solution to Facebook,” coming later this year, cannot be ignored. Perhaps Facebook is fortifying its defenses in anticipation of Google’s upcoming foray into the social network morass, with user photo utility taking the forefront.

Whatever the long-term strategic and tactical reasons for the KODAK kiosk move, Facebook users will rejoice having a quick, easy way to get their photos printed (and maybe make Grandma a holiday calendar) while they shop at the cool Target.