Min.us offers free, no-frills photo sharing

A Min.us gallery.Signing into Flickr, you’re greeted by the opportunity to personalize your profile, upload some photos, and connect with your various friends also using Flickr. Next are thumbnails of your “photostream,” a list of your contacts and their pictures, as well as invitations to share your photos on Twitter and visit the site’s blog.

That’s a lot of stuff.

Stuff that Min.us wants to get rid of.

Min.us is a startup site that offers photo hosting. That’s it, plain and simple. Simpler yet, instead of uploading your pictures, you just drag and drop the photos to the site’s page and you’re done. You don’t have to create an account, supply an email address, or go through any sort of registration process. You name your gallery, are given a URL to visit if you want to edit it and a separate (very short) URL for sharing it – all keeping you completely anonymous. Then you’re done.

“We are not the next Flickr,” creator John Xie asserts – and there are no aspirations to be. Nor does Min.us hope to displace Photobucket or Picasa. Xie was an alpha tester for DropBox, and while he liked the idea, it was Google Chrome’s open-sourced program DropMocks that really inspired Xie and his business partner Carl Hu to “change the way online sharing is done.”

Min.us is now on version 1.03 and, like its prototype’s creators, is focused on transparency. Its blog lists current changes and if you visit the feedback page, you can see users’ input and the development team’s reaction to it. Xie seems happy to utilize response, and while he’s open to ideas, there are three features that aren’t going away: short URLs, no fee, and staying Web-based. It’s a refreshing angle, and instantly attractive to anyone looking for a clean presentation for photos.

So what can you expect in future versions of Min.us? Xie says they are always looking at different plug-ins, including one allowing you to create your drag-and-drop gallery directly into a WordPress site. He also mentions that professional and freelance photographers in particular had some thoughts that Min.us would like to incorporate, such as the ability to insert watermarks onto photos and to load more file types, specifically PSDs. In the future, the site also plans to incorporate data sharing, like PDFs and audio files. Other notable works in progress include the option of registration and login in order to keep track of galleries and images, direct links to individual images, ability to rename a gallery’s URL, and an option to download all images as ZIP files.

These small options for customization won’t distract from Min.us’ purpose though. Xie emphasizes the importance of keeping the site uncluttered and that there are better ways for Min.us to make money than charging a fee – he’s gotten inquiries from institutions about licensing the product, and he says small ads on the page are an eventual possibility.

In the mean time, check out the ultra-minimal photo-sharing site for what might be the quickest way to push your photos to the Web out there.