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This articles discusses the differences between Google's Picasaweb and Yahoo's Flickr.

Picasa Web

Maximum Storage

Picasa Web Albums has a free limit of 1GB. The number of “standard-sized pics” will depend on the average size of the picture files. The second-sharpest setting on my camera produces image files (2848x2136 pixels) of about 1.5MB, so there'd be room for nearly 700 pictures. But the Picasa Web upload software (residing on your hard drive) can automatically shrink the pics before uploading. The resolution goes down to 1600x1200 pixels, and the file size is about 640MB. There's room for about 1500 pictures of that size.

You'll have to get your pics down to 250KB if you want to upload 4000 pics to Picasaweb. The upload software will either upload the original size, or shrink it to 1600x1200 or 1024x768 before uploading. You can set that in your preferences. I haven't tested it, but I suspect the smallest option will get the average file size to about 200 or 250KB.

Videos

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You can upload videos if you're running Windows and using Picasa, which is a photo organizer for photos on your hard drive. Google says:

In the latest version of Picasa, you can upload videos to your online web albums. To get started, follow the steps below.

Note: Video Uploading is available only with Picasa. If you're using our Mac uploading tools, you won't be able to upload videos at this time.

1. Open Picasa.
2. Click the video you want to upload. The selected video appears in the Photo Tray in the lower-left of Picasa.
lightbulbTip: To select more than one video, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the videos. Alternatively, you can click the Hold button after selecting each video to put each one in the Photo Tray.
3. Click the Web Album button at the bottom of the page. If you're not signed in to your Google Account for Picasa Web Albums, you'll be prompted to sign in.
4. Select the album you'd like to add the videos to, or create a new album.
5. Click OK.
6. The Upload Manager window appears, displaying the status of the upload. Once the title bar says 'Completed,' click View Online to launch the album in your browser.

You might want to install Picasa whether or not you want to use Picasaweb. It's pretty handy based on what I've seen.

Flickr

ActiveX Not Required

It looks like (says one comment on a blog) that no ActiveX is required right now even if uploading with your browser.

The Web-based Flickr uploader seems to use Flash instead, according to this note:

PSST - There's a much slicker version of our Uploader that you can use if you have JavaScript enabled and the latest version of Flash software installed. You can download the free Flash player here. Once you've installed it, come back here to see the flashy version of our Uploader.

Flickr Uploaders

Official Uploadr 3.0

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I haven't used any upload software for Flickr, but Uploadr is in official release version 3.0. One reviewer, Christina Warren, wrote about the beta version:

Flickr has just launched the beta of Flickr Uploadr 3.0, available for both Windows and Mac users now. Flickr has a pretty great upload utility built into their web page (assuming Flash is working), so why use an external program? Well, if you want to upload a large group of pictures, Flickr Uploadr lets you select any number of photos, add titles/tags/descriptions, create sets, change the privacy settings and even alter the order, all before uploading to Flickr. That's very snazzy, and it can save a ton of time.

For our very informal, non exhaustive test, we selected 50 photos (640x480 images from PhotoBooth, not 50 photos from our digital camera), labeled them as a set, tagged a few images and then hit "upload." To our pleasure, uploading was significantly faster via the program than using the web interface. Approximately 3 megabytes of photographs were online in seemingly seconds, as opposed to the several minutes it would take to do the same job using the Flash utility on the Flickr site. Our photos weren't all included in part of the set - something we easily corrected on our Flickr page - but they were all correctly tagged and labeled.

Other Software

More software tools, including uploaders, can be found at 37 Tools To Upload to Flickr From Windows, Mac & Linux.

By E-mail

You can set up a "magic E-mail address" to which you can send photos to appear in your Flickr photostream. You can also set permissions for each photo:

Let's say your magic email address is moc.rkcilf.sotohp|rab31oof#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|rab31oof. Then you could use:

foo13bar+moc.rkcilf.sotohp|sdneirf#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|sdneirf - Visible to friends

foo13bar+moc.rkcilf.sotohp|ylimaf#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|ylimaf - Visible to family

foo13bar+moc.rkcilf.sotohp|ff#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|ff - Visible to friends and family

foo13bar+moc.rkcilf.sotohp|etavirp#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|etavirp - Only visible to you

foo13bar+moc.rkcilf.sotohp|cilbup#moc.rkcilf.sotohp|cilbup - Visible to everyone

Tip: Save the addresses you use frequently to your address book so you can email on the fly.

100MB/month… With a Catch

The upload limit per month is 100MB, but only your most recent 200 photos are accessible. I think that means to anyone, including the photo owner. However, links to photos that disappeared still work, and the photos aren't deleted:

On a free account, Flickr limits the number of photos displayed.

If you have fewer than 200 photos, we display them all. If you have more than 200 photos, only the most recent 200 are displayed.

Your photos are not removed from Flickr, only from the list of your photos. If you blogged a photo and it no longer appears in your list, it will still appear on your blog, and the photo's Flickr page will still work just fine.

One user complained in December 2007:

I used Flickr a lot until they introduced that stupid 200 photo limit last year. If you upload more than about 200 photos, the older photos are still there but you just can't browse them until you pay (sounds almost like extortion to me now). I thought I should put this to the test.

I opened the oldest photo of mine still visible and uploaded some more photos. It disappeared off the last page of my photo list. The photo also disappeared off the may2006 tag. However, it is still available from its "item page", even in large size as an anonymous user.

In other words, the Web address still works, but Flickr doesn't list the pic with a thumbnail in its list.

So you could upload 100 pics a month, but based on this new rule, which I hadn't heard of till now, it sounds like Flickr would be good for two months' worth at that rate, unless you kept track of the URLs of the old photos you uploaded.

Merging Videos

You might start with a free program: Kate's Video Joiner, and if that doesn't work check the long list in a Yahoo! Answer.

Bulk Downloading

In case one's computer died or got lost, it might be helpful to use a bulk downloading tool.

Flickr

There was a program called FlickrBackup but its features have been rolled into FlickrEdit:

FlickrEdit is a Java Desktop application that allows you to display and edit your photos in a variety of ways. It also allows you to download/backup or upload your photos to and from Flickr. FlickrEdit is written in Java and it uses flickrj framework to access Flickr.

You just launch the Java application from the FlicrkEdit page, or you can download a Windows exectuable and install it on your computer.

Picasaweb

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According to one help page you will see the option to download a complete album if you have Picasa installed.

Alternatives to Flickr and Picasaweb

Other Image Hosts

Here's one list. It mentions that Photobucket also allows video uploads, but there are lots of restrictions.

Another list is the Ultimate List of Free Image Hosts.

Using a File-storage Site

One of the comment-posters brings up the good point about file hosts (not just image or video hosts) and suggests http://www.mediafire.com/.

If you don't need to share your pics in galleries with thumbnails, maybe you should just try something like MediaFire.

My preliminary use of 4shared.com is positive, aside from the somewhat earthy ads that accompany the free account. (Doesn't offend me, but I wouldn't use the service to share files with people who might not be so open-minded.)

The service offers a 5GB storage limit and each file can be as big as 100MB—that's all on the free account. On the down side, there's no way to link to photos or videos directly. Any links will bring you to a folder or download page. This would be consistent with their business model, as the on-line ads wouldn't show up otherwise.

The service gets a mention in PC World's 101 Fantastic Freebies dated 23 March 2008. There are other storage services mentioned there too.

For other lists of file storage options check out: Six places to store your files online, Storage newcomer ADrive offering up 50GB for free, and Dropbox: Easy real-time folder sync, rollback (the latter requires hard-to-get invites, it seems, but it's good to know the features).

GSpace.com seems to get a lot of press too. It relies on the user's GMail account.

See also: On-line Storage Sites.

My Choices

I uploaded lots and lots of my travel pics to Picasaweb, but I only uploaded about half of them. As my Picasaweb page says: "You are currently using 843 MB (82.41%) of your 1024 MB."

I used to use Flickr a lot, but it was never really handy as a storage and backup site. I eventually deleted most of my 200 photos. I'm not thrilled that it's owned by Yahoo! either. (Nor, apparently, are many users in Germany.)

I've sometimes used a Google Doc and inserted pics when I wanted to share them with other people.

Generally I back up my photos onto DVDs every few months. That doesn't help much if the house burns down, of course.

Multiple Accounts

What if you need more space than the limit? Are multiple accounts the answer?

I've seen that a lot on Flickr and Webshots (which used to be popular a few years ago but seems rather dead now). There will be users like JohnDoe01, JohnDoe02, etc.

I would have opened up another Picasaweb account but I'm signed on to Google almost all the time, mainly because of Google Docs.

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