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Flickr Online Photo Service Reviewed 182

Posted by michael
from the through-a-glass-darkly dept.
kschoenwandt writes "I have been an early fan of Flickr and while I am by far not as much of a shutter bug as most users seem to be, I enjoy the features and use it regularly. Taking some time out reading, I noticed that I am not the only one impressed: The Globe and Mail published a piece on it as did The Christian Science Monitor. Cool!"
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Flickr Online Photo Service Reviewed

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  • by Nemesis099 (60955)
    I don't think 2 minor news sites can say that this is the best photo sharing site. I'm not saying that I won't check it out and see if it is worth it to me but unless something a little more well known talks about it I really do not think it is slashdot worthy.

    I happen to use ofoto which has worked very well for me although now I'm looking for a more advanced site. One that will allow me to sell my photos to make a profit for me and not just the website.
    • Don't knock it till you've tried it. It's on slashdot because it's innovative and uses some pretty cool tech in the background. Give it a shot and see if you don't go running from Ofoto.
      • I looked at this..hoping it might be one of those sites that let you upload your digital pics...and they'll send you back physical printed copies (for a fee).

        Are there any good sites that do this? I can easily manage my own digital pics on my websites...but, would like an easy way to upload my pics, and have them snail mailed to me as high quality prints.

        • You might try EzPrints.com [ezprints.com]. You can send them your digital images, specify sizes, qty, etc and they will send you your prints in about five business days. Several of the other print from the web type sites actually use EzPrints as their fulfillment mechanism.
        • ...send you back physical printed copies (for a fee). Are there any good sites that do this?

          The best place in the world to do this, if you're only interested in black and white prints, is probably San Miguel Photo Lab [bestlab.com] in Las Vegas. I've seen their work; it's amazing.

          Of course, San Miguel charges nearly USD$50.00 for a best-quality 8 by 10 inch print. So if you really meant "Are there any good sites that do this for a fee normal people would consider paying?", I'll have to defer to other posters.

        • my wife uses shutterfly [shutterfly.com] for printing her pictures, and is pretty happy with it. I think as long as you order at least a dozen or so pictures at a time, the price per print (including shipping) is comparable to getting a regular roll of film developed. Plus since it's digital, you only have to pay to get the good pictures developed, instead of all of them.

          You can keep albums online there too, but I'm not sure what their limitations are in terms of how many pictures you can store online at a time.
    • A service does not have to be big to be SlashDot worthy, just good or great. Yes ofoto is good, but Flickr online is a great service and well worth trying out IMHO.
    • by xetaprag (657967) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:40PM (#10975290)
      You've got to wonder if this isn't a trend that has larger consequences.

      Photo storage has traditionally been a "OS" centric activity. Peronsal photos tend to be exactly that, personal. But if users are willing to store (and trust) personal information on (to) public internet sites, then why not display the same trust will all but your password files. If I can store my email on GMail, my photos on-line, and my documents online, what's left for the average user? If I am an average joe (and am not hiding a secret porn stash) then why not store the majority of my digital information on-line.

      At some point Microsoft or the Linux-folks are going to have to realize that OS systems design to manage data on just-local drives are woefully inadequate.

      • If I am an average joe (and am not hiding a secret porn stash)

        That's a pretty BIG if. Plus, there are many websites on-line that store huge amlounts of porn. So that aspect is/can be held on-line too.
    • I like it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TravisC (792858)
      I started using Flickr last month and am very impressed. Granted I don't have a big need to sell my photos, just to manage them easily and quickly.

      Two of my favorite features of flickr are the ability to email photos from my phone directly to the site, and the fact that they provide code which enables me to display the last 5 flickr photos on my personal website. In addition to those two features, they allow members to post comments on photos. Plus, you can see how many times each photo has been vie
    • One post mentioned smugmug.com, which is what I settled on after an intense evaluation of 25 sites, including ofoto, Yahoo!, shutterbug, etc. Here is my quick plug for smugmug as a recommendation for anyone else looking to run from ofoto etc. for superior services like flickr or smugmug: 1) Unlimited storage (they get you for downloading - viewing - more than 180,000 med-size jpegs in a month, flickr only limits your UPloading 2) Sharing of ORIGINAL size photos. This is indeed rare. 3) Backups to CD or DVD
      • On thing I noticed: Ability to search and view photos without having to register. This is a big plus for me.
      • I opted for flickr because they were cheap, had lots of metadata and open API's. I really missed a linux photo uploader client, which smugmug seems to have, a really big deal.

        The best thing going for smugmug is that the open API's might inspire a linux dude to write his own uploader/metadata capture tool.

      • I think you're missing the point of flickr. Flickr isn't a photo archive, it's a photo sharing site. There's a huge distinction. Want to look at pictures of Shanghai? http://flickr.com/photos/tags/shanghai/ Want to see what people are posting in your city? Subscribe to the tag's RSS feed. Want to display images on your site? Pool together common interest groups? Etc etc.

        Don't think of Flickr as an online repository for your images, think of it as a delicious+Friendster+Blogger+moblog-like photo service.
    • i use www.imagestation.com for my main online photo albums since they give you unlimited storage along with the ability to retrieve the orginal sized picture.

      The only one I've seen so far that had a photo selling option was www.shutterfly.com, but they only let you sell prints of your photos, not the images themselves. It was fairly limited and looked like it only catered to the event photographer (kids sports, weddings, etc).

      There are quite a few stock photo places to sell your pictures to the mass me


      • What are the image selling options? I am building a site, http://www.youart.net, that is ore focused on photo chopping but including the ability to sell your uploaded photos. Well, my initial thoughts were:

        1) free
        2) fee per copy used on shirt or other item
        3) fee per usage on another media like a website
        (do I need to make this "per hit" or "per reader"?)
        4) Cost for unlimited usage.

        But what are the pricing methods desired?

        Thanks!Tim
        • You'll have to take a look at the site. Basically they offer a wholesale price based on which package you buy. Which aren't that cheap you are also fairly limited to the total amount of pictures you can post, so dropping a online stock photo store is prohibitibly expensive. More or less you can sell any sized print they offer and I would think you could do all the mugs and calender etc.
    • I don't think 2 minor news sites...

      The Globe & Mail is one of two national Canadian Newspapers. Not exactly minor to us Canucks.

  • ... I just read on their website.
    But, unfortunately, it's just advanced privacy:-(
    While also nice, we unfortunately will have to resort to our standard piracy tools...
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:34PM (#10975215) Homepage Journal
    Besides the consumer-oriented shutterflys and the community of deviantart, there are other service bureaus which are of value to professional and serious amateur photographers out there. I used to use ezprints.com for lightjet output, but their color calibration is very spotty and inconsistent these days.
    • We've been using snapfish.com [snapfish.com] for years and love it.

      In fact, I just ordered photo Christmas cards from them.
    • A different approach (Score:4, Informative)

      by senzafine (630873) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:53PM (#10975427) Homepage
      Flickr is a really cool site. I do like their keywords and group features. We recently finished a site that's (imo) as good as or better than Flickr. Give some feedback on FotoFlix [fotoflix.com].

      This site lets you create movies with some really nice templates and your own music.

      Flickr and FotoFlix are by far the best sites for photo management and sharing.
    • Just an OT aside, that is the best damn picture of Beaver Stadium I have ever seen, and you managed to get it on one of the 3 times this season Penn State was actually ahead!(and really the only good game they played this season), you really should try making it into a postcard or something, people will buy anything Penn State and that is a good one.
      • (The parent reference is to this shot: http://halley.cc/pix/?f=penn.state/beaver.stadium [halley.cc] -- check the "even larger" link.

        Heh, the closeup of the scoreboard shows MSU 3, PSU 0, first quarter. ;) I'm sure I could fudge that to the final score if I wanted to sell to Penn State fans. The detail in the original is high enough you can find Sparty and the Lion mascots on the sidelines, read most of the jersey numbers, and count the cheerleaders too.

        If anyone's interested in a print of any of my gallery, e

    • mpix is a very nice printing service. They're the consumer division for miller's (one of the best known and used pro-only printing labs).

      Easy to upload files to them, and they're one of the few services that accept any size of TIFF files.

      The digital black and white paper is very nice. So is the metallic.

  • I dig it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by billstr78 (535271) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:34PM (#10975219) Homepage
    What I really like about Flickr is the way it brings people together over photographs. They say a picture is worth 1000 words (bring on the picture worth replies) and allowing individuals to comment on photos and discuss topics in the group forums are by far the most often used features for me. The interface is also slick and innovative, tags are of great use in photos (as they are with mail) and the notes feature made possible by thier custom flash rendering scripts are a pretty neat as well.
    • while this sounds good, are there any limits as to what kind of pictures can appear on the site (i.e. is there some kind of moderation system?). I am not so concerned about p0rn, but more about pictures depicting violence or other material that most people would prefer to stay way from if they could.
      • Re:I dig it (Score:3, Informative)

        by billstr78 (535271)
        An account can be marked as "bad" if photos they post violate copyrights or are reported as offensive and thier photos not shown in public searches, but they can still make thier way to public group photo pools. I did find one or two disturbing images this way. There is a mechanism to mark a photo as "offensive", but there is not much indication as to how they handle it from there.
        Having said that, I have only found 2 or 3 disturbing photos amoungst the thousands I've viewed so far. Translation: the b
  • by cara (118378) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:35PM (#10975229)
    I use flikr too and the thing I like is the easy integration with various blogs (specifically I use blogger.com, but it works with others). It's easy to create a blog entry from a photo posted to flikr - very convenient.
    • It's also becomming a bit like a blog location itself. I notice a few people [flickr.com] attaching long annotations or "stories" to daily posts. With comments and photos displayed in stream ordering by default, this is becoming much like my second blog.
  • by Smack (977) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:36PM (#10975232) Homepage
    Some of the features are only available in the Flash interface, and I don't see what the benefit is anyway. Too gee-whizzy.
    • Exactly. Flickr is very annoying due to the constant use of flash.
    • I just tried viewing some images, and nothing showed up! Upon some digging around, it looks like the actual images are SWF files.

      Why in the world would anyone send images as Flash?

      Being a Linux user, I can't use this site.

      If Google has taught us anything, it is that Occam's principle rules: simplest interface is the best.

      Ciao Flickr!

      • If they make the photos "cross postable" to other sites they probably use flash to prevent people from taking your images and cross posting them.

        I have a photo site and my images have ended up as backgrounds on a number of Blogs (I would never have noticed except they didn't copy the image they cross posted it.).

        Its probably to stop that, but if it makes it so noone wants to see the originals it isn't worth it.
      • On ourdoings.com there is no use of flash, JavaScript is optional, and the client-side uploading software is supported on Linux. If you have a large pile of photos to put up, ourdoings.com handily beats all the "best" services out there, organizing them by the digital timestamps so that you can quickly put in entries for the appropriate dates.
    • Not only gee-whizzy, but also browser-slow-downin'. Whenever I open a page with a default-sized photo on Flickr, my browser (whether Firefox or IE) takes about 1-2 seconds to 'digest' the page. But this is technology -- it can be changed. The service they provide IS good and VERY popular [alexa.com].
  • Can't sleep? View our slide shows!
    • Nobody wants to sit through a slide show, so service providers save a lot of bandwidth by the user going elsewhere. I find it much more user-friendly to put a bunch of 640x480 shots on one page and let people scroll up and down to look at the ones they're interested in. At only 50kb or so per image, it isn't a ton of bandwidth either.
  • Ad Rates (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:38PM (#10975262)
    Hi! I was wondering what the rates are for getting my business mentioned as a front-page Slashdot story? At first I thought that I might have to insert open-source code into my commercial product and claim it as my own, but now that seems to not be necessary.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Web 2.0 anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aardwolf204 (630780) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:40PM (#10975293)
    FTA: Flickr (www.flickr.com) is what's known as a web service or web application -- something between a website and a regular software program. Web services have long been seen as the future, but until recently they've been held back by technical limitations. Now the combination of faster computers, better development tools and greater access to broadband is making them a reality. Some have even taken to calling this new trend the Web 2.0.

    Emphasis mine

    I can only imagine the marketoid this came from. Its bad enough most people (outside /.) think HTTP is the Internet, now we need everyone hyping "Web 2.0", because we all know how much version numbers mean.

    Sorry, feeling a bit ranty today.
    • Internet 2 says it wants fight Web 2 at the flag pole after school.

    • Re:Web 2.0 anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by say (191220)

      Its bad enough most people (outside /.) think HTTP is the Internet

      People who know what HTTP is, do generally also know what a protocol is, and do not think HTTP is the Internet. People think the Internet is a program with an icon depicting a blue E.

    • SDK's Available (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oravecz (543740)
      Do any of the online photo services (ofoto, snapfish, etc.) provide an SDK that would let developers bundle professional photo printing capabilities into custom software or web sites? I would like to host photos on my website using some custom software I wrote (or any of the hundreds of PHP-based alternatives), but I want family and friends to be able to order printed copies of the photos.

      I realize that I can upload the photos to one of these services, but I would prefer to upload the photo to the service
  • In Japan old people talk to online pictures to avoid senility... Seriously... I just signed up for this, and I think it's a lot easier than signing on to my school's VPN to upload a few pics to my student webserver, then disconnecting and going about my business... And it's better than what was that service??? Photobucket I think?
  • I use Flickr. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Raven42rac (448205) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:43PM (#10975325)
    I use flickr as an easy way of sharing my photos. The dealmaker was the great communities that are on there. People will give you constructive input, not elitist prickery when you post your photos. More than I can say for deviant art/etc.
  • Flickr (Score:3, Informative)

    by JRGKGB (412557) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:45PM (#10975350)
    Flickr is pretty nice, though personally I'm a bigger fan of fotoflix.com - better multimedia options and a cleaner interface.

    I haven't tried that many I'll admit. Thanks for the list above, very useful.
  • by scaramush (472955) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:48PM (#10975384) Homepage Journal

    I've never used Flickr, but I have been using Gallery [menalto.com] now for about 2 years. It's Open Source, based on PHP and MySQL. I've had to do two complete machine moves in that time, and it's handled them both flawlessly.

    I think of all the OS projects I've used (and I've been at this a while now), Gallery has brought me the most pleasure. I had more or less put down my digital camera, because I found sharing, storing and cataloging photos publicly too much of a pain. Being able to share my photos with my friends and family has just been a real joy for me. (And before someone says it, they're pictures of my garden, not pr0n ;) ).

    Gallery also has a hook to buy photos from Shutterbug (but I haven't been very happy with them so far).

    Thanks Gallery!

    • I have been using Gallery myself for a few years, and I agree it is great.

      One nitpick though: it has never required MySQL at all. All its data are in flat files.

    • My family *loves* my gallery. Heck, even my parents' and parents-in-law's coworkers love it. I posted almost all of the pictures of my recent wedding and honeymoon (I said almost all of them, you pervert), and they like that they can comment on them, order prints, or just show them off to their friends.

      I'm thinking of making a small business of setting up galleries for people. So many people have digicams, but then just print the pictures out or email a couple at a time to their friends and family.

    • I've also been using Gallery for quite a while now. (4 years? Really?). I agree it rocks! I've also set up a Gallery site for my brother on his server at home, and have random photo digital picture frames running around the house feeding from the server. Very, very cool stuff!
  • by syphax (189065) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:55PM (#10975456) Journal
    I like flickr. I like their attitude- here's the first couple lines from a recent email:
    Hello Most Excellent Flickr Beta Testr!

    This is just a reminder to let you know that, not only do you rule, but ...
    I also like the tag approach to categorizing photos. Like del.icio.us [del.icio.us] for bookmarks, tagging lets you get orthogonal with your groupings (i.e. the same photo can belong to multiple groups- generally a useful thing).
  • crappy security (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Too bad Flickr uses plain text HTTP authorization.
    • On ourdoings.com I use SSL-encrypted authentication. Except for photo uploads where I use a one-time key sent after the upload. A large volume of data being encrypted would likely slow down the server, which is why most services out there do plaintext by default.
  • I wonder if the poster schoenwandt works for Flickr? Things that make you go hmm???
    • I have to agree that this smells like an ad. These types of services have been around forever and this one is not exceptionally better than any of the others like ofoto, snapfish, etc...Just mho.
    • Yes, that was my first thought too. He's an early user because he works for the company. Who else would keep track of the positive press they have received!
  • I think I'll try Flickr. The load on my FC/Apache box is usually quite high the day after I tell friends I have pictures from XYZ event up ...

    Oh, and Google's Picasa is quite nice (Windows only, though). Photo organizing, automatic import (warning: any NSFW stuff will be found, heh), etc., but it also has stuff like automatic export to XHTML galleries - I can imagine it'd be quite easy to set it up with a batch file or two so a relative could export them to an XHTML gallery, then run the batch file to
  • I think smugmug's user interface, features, and speed are far superior. You have to pay $29.95 per year, but for that you get no advertisements, unlimited storage, ability to view and download original files, and easy online printing.
    • Hey, thanks. :)

      I'm the CEO at smugmug.com [smugmug.com], arguably one of flickr's better competitors. (Actually, since we were here before them and have larger share, I suppose they're one our better competitors. Whatever).

      Luckily, the flickr gang and I have had a chance to meet and hang out, and to be honest, they're very smart, talented people. There are a lot of other companies playing in this space, and most of them don't have a clue.

      I think it would help all of us who are clueful if someone (the media, geeks w
      • Both ofoto and shutterfly have a business model where the money is made off of prints. If they provided really good sharing, customers would probably only order prints of the very best pictures. They'd be happy to just look at most of them on the web.
  • by jcostantino (585892) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:07PM (#10975577) Homepage
    I set up Gallery on my home server and after some configuring it works without a hitch! You can get it at http://gallery.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] and all it needs to run is Apache, PHP and some free image manipulation programs!

    Unfortunately, it seems to be very particular about what webhosting services it likes - both of my office's hosts, Readyhosting and Interland don't have enough PHP access to make it work. It works just fine for me at home running XP Pro, Apache and PHP.

    It's pretty vanilla but it supports multiple users with permissions, you can add comments, rotate, do batch uploads through either Java applets, a html form or from a URL. I was using statically generated pages from Jalbum and while these lack the prettiness of Jalbum, they are HUGELY more flexible.

  • by Sirch (82595)
    Am I the only one who thinks the the grampa with grandchildren towards the right looks like he has the biggest hunchback ever?
  • In Korea, online photo services are only for old people.

  • Flickr API (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:04PM (#10976141)
    I work at Flickr. Of paricular note to /.rs, check out our open API: http://www.flickr.com/services/api/

  • My 2c worth (Score:2, Interesting)

    The search isn't acessible from the front page. When I pointed this error out, tech support gave me a rude response. YMMV.
    • To search, just use this URL:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/%s

      where %s is your keyword.

      <ShamelessSelfPromotion>
      Or if you're running OS X, use the Flickr search engine in Beholder [mesadynamics.com].
      </ShamelessSelfPromotion>
  • AND searches (multiple tag searches). For instance, if I am looking for pictures of cats and dogs together, I would like to be able to find all photos tagged both "cat" and "dog". Right now, it appears Flickr only supports single keyword browsing.

    OR searches. "dog AND (cat OR kitten)"

    Date range searches, based on when the file was uploaded, and/or ability to sort on date.

    Ability to limit searches to various photo size ranges.

    No need for flash. Flash makes this site slow, at least in comparison to pu
  • I hope (Score:2, Funny)

    by Retep Vosnul (663388)
    That if this service is ever introduced in the Netherlands they pick another name for it.

    Phoneticly it sounds a bit ... poofy.
  • i've been digging shutterbook [shutterbook.com] lately, if only that it behaves much more like a desktop application. which is neat. hooray.
  • Flickr looks pretty cool, but I prefer to keep my photos to myself.

    I've been a big fan of Adobe Photoshop Album [adobe.com] since it came out a couple of years ago. Like FlickR it uses tags to organize photos, and multiple tags can be assigned to the same picture. Lookups are incredible fast, and there are customizable templates for web posting. Since I 'blog' I like to keep stuff on my site so I can earn some Google ad revenues.

    Most impressive is the amount of logging data it keeps. The program keeps track o

  • by beej (82035) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @06:43PM (#10979749) Homepage Journal
    I like: no storage limits and effective use of "tag [flickr.com]" keywords to mark photos, as well as the general usage of the site (photostreams, comments, and so on.)

    The comments are encouraging for an amateur photographer like me [flickr.com] who wants to take good pictures for people to enjoy, and not be eviscerated by a professional critic.

    Definitely room for improvement (sets of sets, printing integration), but they seem to be hard at work making this happen. And it looks like they're going to charge $60/year, which seems kind of pricey compared to the competition.

    What finally (after a couple days) pushed me over the edge to pay them and subscribe were the fact that they have seamless integration with Creative Commons [creativecommons.org] licenses for your photos (cool-factor points), and an open open API for managing your photos through 3rd-party scripts [flickr.com]. With it, I've written a python script that I use to batch-upload and annotate photos. I haven't tried their client with Wine, so I don't know if that option exists for Linux-only users.

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