Flickr vs Google Picasa : The Battle Continues

As some of you know, I’ve almost abandoned my Flickr account. I haven’t uploaded any photos there in the last couple of years. And I’ve also voiced my increasing preference of Google Picasa on several occasions. I’ve even started re-uploading all my pictures to Picasa and tagging people in it. Which is how you probably know about it, since that stirred a massive wave of notification emails.

Anyways. There has been a sudden and unexpected development in this area, which I want to share. Google replaced Picasa link (‘Photos’) in its navigation bar with Google+ Photos. And while Google+ Photos is an improvement over Picasa in some areas, it is an inferior product at this stage. And that was done when I was almost done with my Flickr-to-Picasa migration. I felt it was a blow below the belt. And that gave me yet another opportunity to reconsider my reasoning for the move.

These, to the best of my memory, were my reasons to move from Flickr to Google Picasa.

  • Uploader. This was one of the main reasons. Back a couple of years ago, Flickr web interface only allowed me to upload 5 or 6 pictures at once. If I had to upload much more, the only option was to install a browser addon or a desktop client. Which I tried too, of course. But all of them sucked in general. And required constant permission fiddling. Google Picasa had an excellent web uploader. All I had to do was drag and drop a bunch of pictures into my browser.
  • Mobile integration. Google Picasa had a client for my Android smartphone since the day I needed it. Flickr was a different story. A different story with Yahoo authentication on top of it.
  • Price. Flickr’s Pro account is $25/year. Google Picasa uses my extended Google disk space, for which I pay $5 / 20 GB / year. But those are magic Google gigabytes. Somehow I can fit 40 gigabytes of laptop’s disk space into about 11 Google gigabytes.
  • Image editor. Google Picasa had a built in editor which I could use to do minor editing like rotation and cropping. FLickr didn’t have anything.

Of course, these weren’t all my reasons, but they were the most significant ones I think. So, did any of that changed during my inactivity on Flickr and during my Google Picasa migration process? Yes. Let’s have a closer look.

  • Uploader. Flickr now features an excellent batch uploader. I tried it and it works very well.
  • Mobile integration. Flickr recently released Android app, which works pretty good. It’s not as useful as the Picasa one yet. But it covers the basic needed functionality and I’m sure it will improve in the nearest future.
  • Price. That is always something to consider. In relative terms, Flickr seems to be 4 times more expensive than Google Picasa. But in absolute terms, $25/year is really nothing. $2 or so per month won’t make much difference to me. That was a stupid argument on my part.
  • Image editor. Flickr now has one too.

So why would I want to move to Google Picasa now? There is really doesn’t seem to be any good reason right now. On top of that, Google Picasa is being phased out and replaced by Google+ Photos in which I don’t have any confidence yet.

Therefore, my thinking now is that I shouldn’t really move. Not at this stage at least. I will upload pictures from my camera to Flickr. I will take a bit more time to figure out what I want to do with my mobile pictures – either keep them in Picasa, or upload them to Flickr, or just use them in my blog only. But other than that, I think, I made up my mind about the move now.

What do you think? What is the best photo hosting/sharing option?

5 thoughts on “Flickr vs Google Picasa : The Battle Continues”

  1. I am using Flickr for a quiet a long period as well and feel pretty comfortable with it.

    Agree that old uploader sucked and installing all those apps to do the job was not a good way out, but now all looks good. BTW it supports retries when it fails to upload few images from the batch.

    With regards to photo editing – I do it prior to upload in gThumb. Rotation is mostly done automatically since most of the modern devices obey the gravity law :)

    One more thing with regards to money is that if you don’t pay for the next year – flickr seems to save all the photos and just limit the functionality, which I can unlock if I pay some time later. I had few cases where I have Pro account going back to Free for more than a year and then switching back to Pro after with no problems.

    From the bad side of Flickr for me:
    – Yahoo auth, since most of my stuff is on Google
    – Lack of integration with Google

    1. It also seems that my photos get way more views on Flickr. People find, share, blog and re-use them. While those at Google Picasa, even though public, are rarely looked at by anyone except myself.

      1. Agreed. In this terms Flickr is better as it is specialized on photos only and each time you upload something, this is shown in flow of all pics on a main page, people see your photos by relative things and so on.

        I also managed to connect Flickr to facebook and it also supports twitter, but the integration is a bit weak yet as it half-automatic.

  2. A bit late with my comment as I was on vacation… I prefer Picasa for a very simple reason: once you access someone’s Picasa you see the albums, not the photos. Much easier to find a certain album (not “set” as Flickr calls them), plus I like the interface better using AJAX to load just the photo, not the entire page. Not to mention the Picasa software which is quite nice and allows you to easily upload pictures to the Picasa account and also to Facebook using a plugin.
    I have friends which are professional and they prefer Flickr as they get more exposure.

    1. After using Flickr for years, I find Picasa interface a bit … weird. One thing that I constantly keep losing is a link to the photo or a button to share the photo. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t and it puzzles me. :)

      I also like Flickr search a bit better – with tags and such. When blogging, I often use it for browsing the Creating Commons.

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