Flickr update

For a while now I’ve been on the fence in regards to the Flickr vs Google Picasa battle.  With both services constantly changing and improving, it’s difficult to make a decision and stick to it.  But I think finally I’ve decided.  Flickr it is.  They’ve caught up with the features that I wanted so much for so long, and just in the last month released two of my “most wanted” – a much improved uploading tool, and quick and easy image editor.

Both of those additions pushed me to finalize the upload of all my pictures to Flickr.  So now, all I had from my digital camera, is there.  And I’ve enjoyed making the pictures better, more attractive with the editor – all it takes is just a few clicks to convert an average picture of which I have thousands into an eye candy.

Flickr has also recently released and improved its Android app, which once again makes me think about my mobile pictures.  I will probably start pushing them into my Flickr stream as well.

And as far as Google Picasa is concerned, I think they’ve spoiled it quite a bit with such a tight integration with Google+.  And their URLs are still ugly, making it pretty much impossible to migrate links from the blog via automatic redirection. Bad Google, bad.  And while I’m sure they will improve, I don’t think I will change over any time soon – the decision process tired me down.

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?

More Picasa Web Albums space for Google+ users

Google Operating System blog tells:

Picasa Web Albums offers more free storage if you are a Google+ user. According to Picasa Web’s help center, “photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won’t count towards your free storage”. If you upload photos from Google+, they’re automatically resized to 2048 pixels on their longest edge, so they don’t use the 1 GB of free storage that’s available in Picasa Web Albums.

For those of you not on Google+ yet, only pictures up to 800×800 pixels won’t count up on your storage.  You really should let me know your email address and I’ll send you an invite.

Giving Picasa a try

Those of you who know me, know that I am a big fan of Flickr.  I’ve been using it for years, and I have more than 10,000 photos upload there.  I am also a big fan of Google.  And even so, I ignored and disregarded their Picasa service.  Why?  Because it is boring.

Flickr is a fresh and very much unique solution to the photo sharing problem.  It is a photostream.  It is social with all the commends and groups.  It helps with organization of photos by sets, collections, and tags.  It utilizes EXIF image data.  It allows to geotag pictures.  It was one of the first to introduce easy Creative Commons licensing.  And more.

Picasa is very straightforward and … boring.  Create albums, upload images, share the selected.  That was pretty much it.  Later on of course comments came in, geotagging was implemented, and even face recognition was added. Sort of.  The strength of Picasa was not in the web service.  It was in the photo management application that you’d install on your computer.  And that was exactly what I never wanted to do.

My computer is unreliable.  It crashes, and dies, and gets outdated.  It runs out of disk space.  I lose it.  And I can’t really share and discuss things off my computer with other people.  I can, but it’s not easy or convenient.  Flickr solves my problem – I upload pictures there, and everyone can see, comment, and reuse them.

That however created a new problem for me.  Since I know that other people will look at my photos, I want to edit them a bit before uploading – crop, contrast, saturation.  Things like that.  But when I take a lot of pictures at once – event or travel – I have to work a lot to process them.  If I get several events in a row, I get stuck, overload, and lose interest.  Like now, for example.  I still have photos from my 2009 trips that I haven’t uploaded anywhere.

A few days ago, I realized that there might be a workable scenario for me with Picasa.  Picasa these days is much more feature rich than it used to be.  It still lacks the social functionality, but it offers something more for photo management.  Picnick – an online photo editor.  With that, I can upload all my photos to Picasa as soon as I have them. I can keep them in a private album, edit them when I have the time, and then share them later.  Or share them immediately and edit them later – there is less social pressure because there is less social interactions and functionality.

On top of that, Picasa is better working with my new Android phone.  I already use it to backup photos from my phone.  Having their all photos together makes sense.

One other thing that Picasa does better – uploads.  Both services have API, so there are plenty of tools to move pictures around.  But I always prefer the simplest solution.  Flickr provides five file upload fields on their site.  If I need to upload few hundreds of pictures, I’ll spend too much time with that.  I am, sort of, forced to install an application or a browser plugin or something.  Picasa web albums allows to select multiple files for upload – as many as you have in the folder.  So in just a couple of clicks I can select and start the upload and come back later when it’s done.

Having seen all that in the last few days, I decided to try it out.  I am no uploading all my photos to Picasa as well.  I’ll keep them in private albums for now.  If I like it enough, I’ll share them later.

What about you?  Where do you keep your photos?  How do you share them?  And are you happy with your current setup?