12 06 2012

Here and there I have a thousand or seven photographs, and am two or three years behind in posting and sharing and so on.  Facebook is popular but lousy, Flickr is full-featured but aging (with a neglectful owner), Google + is elegant but not well known…

I think Flickr wins out, but here’s what I’m looking for, in no particular order:

1. Efficiency.  Fast operations for all of the below.  G+ might have the edge here for uploading, but I think Flickr wins out for overall efficiency since it does things (and fast) that G+ doesn’t do easily, or at all.

2. Granular privacy controls.  This is one of two killer features for Flickr over G+.  As of right now, I can’t figure out how to set a single photo in G+ to private, if the album is public.

3. Flexible cross posting options.  G+ has lots of neat social mechanisms, but I’m not sure it rivals Flickr yet for range of features.  Flickr lets me easily post linked images, or links for galleries, or play with rss feeds of my whole stream, or individual tags, etc. Does G+ have tags?

4. Portability.  I may never export all my Flickr photos, but if I did there’s a lot of ways I’d get ’em all plus all their semantic content.  G+ may be headed that way but I don’t think they’re there yet.

5. In-browser editing.  I loved Pikmin, Flickr’s old editor that seems to have been bought by G+.  So that’s one thing G+ has over Flickr (whose replacement is a bit swifter but lacks a bunch of features, most importantly an undo function..!).  However,  a few of my favorite filters are gone from both, so I may have to learn my way around Gimp to get them back…

6. Semantic content.  Flickr makes it incredibly easy to tag photos every which way.  G+ doesn’t.

7. Robust search options.  Flickr has archive calendars, tag clouds, and more.  G+ doesn’t (though there’s a big “yet” on that, I assume).

8. Stability.  Here again G+ has an edge on Flickr.  G+ is part of Google’s core strategy.  Flickr is a too-often-neglected-stepchild of Yahoo, which has many many other problems.

9. Display.  Flickr is nice, clean, sparse.  G+ is dynamic, fun, intriguing.

10. Social tagging.  G+ wins here for integrating my google contacts (with some attendant bugs due to duplicate contacts…).  But Flickr has this feature, it just doesn’t work as well given how few people have flickr accounts.

11. Stats. Flickr has ’em, aplenty, G+ not at all (that I can tell).  It’s a vainglorious feature but I like it.

12. Cost.  Flickr is $25/year for unlimited uploads, storage, access, etc.  G+ is free with a cap, and there’s an option to pay for more but it’s not easy to find.

13. Copyright licensing.  Flickr handles this, G+ doesn’t.

14. Switching costs.  I’ve got a lot of photos, tags, etc, in Flickr.  4000 photos.  I’m sure there’s a way I could move ’em all to G+… But I really like having ’em all in one place.

15. Discoverability/community.  This is a toss up.  I love it when (twice a year or so) some stranger finds one of my flickr photos and asks to add it to their group or makes a comment.  There’s a lot of potential built into G+ for this, but it hasn’t really taken off (and my lack of use doesn’t help).

16. Image quality.  I think this is about a tie.  It looks like G+ displays a bit better, but I’m not sure of that.

17. Identity.  My G+ account is my Gmail identity.  My Flickr account is find-able if you know me, but there’s at least one thin layer of obscurity.  Not sure how much I care about that…

18. Connections.  G+ is relatively integrated with Gmail contacts, in a pretty robust way.  Flickr lets you look up other flickr members by gmail, yahoo, facebook, etc, but that’s it.

19. Support.  Another tie, since Flickr’s been around longer and has more developed, but G+ has more resources.

20. Easy posting from the phone.  With my old nokia, I had the whole process of snapping a photo, sending to gmail that forwarded to flickr down to muscle memory.  My smartphone makes it a bit slower.  But G+ has an autoloading feature that’s pretty neat… If I invested the time to figure out how to use it best.

21. Organizational flexibility.  Here’s another big winner for Flickr.  When I wanted to gin up a slideshow of photos of Rachel over the years, Flickr made it easy.  Facebook made it possible but annoying.  G+ might eventually make this easy, but for now it’s pretty limited.

22. Videos..?  Not sure I care about the difference, but there is one, and I don’t know it, which probably answers that question.

23. Downloading.  Neither service lets me (or others) download a whole album at a time.  G+ looks like it has the easiest process, but Flickr has more options for both restrictions and formats.

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