Saturday, June 17, 2006

Comparing Google's Picasa Web to Flickr

I find the Picasa photo organizer to be almost perfect, except for not having a Mac version. I set up a gallery of my travel pictures on Picasa Web a few days ago. The first thing that struck me was how easy it is to export folders to the web portal. You get 250 megabytes of storage for free, and can purchase much more for $10/year. I uploaded my pictures in medium resolution (roughly 1024x778) so I only used about 1/5 of my free storage.

I have had a Flickr photo site for a long time and I plan on keeping both sites, at least for now. (I link to both Picasa Web and Flickr on my main web site).

I think that the web interface for managing photos is better for Flickr, but Picasa Web is also very easy to use and was only publicly released this week - I am sure that it will get even better. I requested a Picasa Web invitation early in the morning the day it was released and I received an invitation within a day. I don't know what the waiting time is now. Google may want only a relatively small number of test users to initially test the system.

The Picasa Web site has a great feature for viewing folders of pictures: I think that the Javascript on the page preloads the next photo because when you click the "next" arrow the next photo appears instantly as long as you do not click the "next" arrow too quickly. The slideshow is very well done, and shows larger images than the Flickr slide show. From a photo viewer's perspective, I like the Picasa Web system a bit more than Flickr.

It will be interesting to see if Picasa Web will be profitable by selling extra storage space and hard copy prints, or if they will add advertisements to the Picasa Web pages to generate revenue.

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