Given all the photos we took in Alaska last week (488 between Kevin & I) I decided to actually try out a few of the latest online photo sites. I tried both smugmug.com and flickr.com.
Besides allowing you to store your photos online, these sites encourage community around photos by supporting simple metadata tags on the photos and the ability to share and group your photos with others.
After playing with both, I decided I liked flickr.com best. I’m still not convinced “enough” to actually pay for a Pro account, but I have to admit I almost pulled the trigger and fessed up the $ yesterday when I hit my upload limit on my free account.
I really hate the web based photo interaction model. I don’t want to edit metadata (or my photos!) online. I want to use my favorite digital editing app (Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10) and have the photos I like the best automatically published, either on my home server (see http://www.kindel.com/revelstoke/2004 for example), or to one of these services.
I also don’t believe in using these sites as a “backup” or for “archival”. For one the upstream bandwidth even on the best generally available broadband connection can’t really support my needs (especially moving forward with the mid-range digital camera sporting 7+ megapixels and video). For another, the recovery is even worse: I can imagine trickling my 24GB of photos upstream, but when my local copy gets destroyed and I need to recover I want it now. What, are they going to mail me a HD? Last, none of these outfits has a track-record of reliability. What service level guarantee do they provide that if California slides into the ocean in the Big One my precious data will still be safe?
So I like the model of doing my own backup and archival (I am in control) and using online sites for publishing and sharing with others. And for that, Flickr is pretty damn slick (but not slick enough for me to cough up coin).
My Flickr photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel.