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July 28, 2008

Flickr – Billions of Photos and Counting

Going digital is supposed to make life easier and more enjoyable but when it comes to digital photos, the challenge is figuring out what to do with all of them.

As one of the largest online photo applications, Flickr and it’s more than 2 billion photos has plenty to offer.  First and foremost, Flickr is a repository for storing mass amounts of digital photos and offers a plethora of intuitive organizational tools to ensure you can find that picture of Uncle Leo at last year’s family reunion.  Even more compelling is Flickr’s ability to publicize your work to your friends, family, and even the world.  Assuming you haven’t restricted access to your photos, each time you upload images, the Flickr community gains a visual glimpse into your world and can provide feedback on your work.

Through a series of plugins and third-party services, Flickr can quickly transform your digital photos into tangible memories like photographic prints, posters, calendars, books, and business cards.  Because these services are often tightly integrated into Flickr, little more than a few clicks are required to select your favorite photos and design your offline creations.

Practical Uses:

  • Create a digital family photo album that never needs dusting
  • Find talented new photographers in your city
  • Share photos with friends and family without clogging up their email box
  • Use Flickr to host your blog or web site’s images

Insider Tips:

  • If you have a premium account, don’t worry about reducing your image sizes – Flickr will save your original high-resolution version and make several smaller copies for easy viewing on the web
  • Include a brief description and keyword tags to make it easier to find your photos over time
  • Flickr‘s free photo uploading software can greatly speed up the process for getting your photos online

What We Liked:

  • A massive user community means there are plenty of enhancements and plugins to make the service more enjoyable (try Googling “Flickr Tools“)
  • Ability to search for keywords and tags
  • Photographic meta information such as the “date taken” and exposure settings are preserved and displayed next to your photos
  • No limits on paid accounts means you don’t have to “watch the meter”

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only minimal options for altering the layout and design of your photo pages
  • Flickr renames uploaded image files to an obscure alphanumeric sequence

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched in: February, 2004
  • Publicly held (subsidiary of Yahoo)
  • Headquarters: Mountain View, CA
  • Founded by Stewart Butterfield & Caterina Fake of Ludicorp
  • Web site: http://www.flickr.com

Costs:

  • Free for a basic account which includes up to 100mb of uploads per month
  • $24.95/year for a premium account with unlimited storage

Rating:

  • 5 out of 5 (strongly recommended)

Screenshot of Flickr dashboard after logging in

Screenshot of a user gallery main screen

Screenshot of a Flickr user slideshow which plays full screen on a black background

Screenshot showing the Flickr image organization and description page