Photographers and enthusiasts have been drifting away from Flickr for ages, but up until now there's been no offering that's really a suitable full replacement.
On the one side you have sites like SmugMug, which has an awesome API, detailed controls over your images... but is devoid of any of the social features Flickr users have grown to love (and loathe sometimes - YOUR PHOTO HAS BEEN INVITED TO [INANE GROUP HERE!]).
Or you have beautifully designed sites like 500px... which also has no API and forces its users to operate the whole thing painfully in manual. But it does have really good discoverability features, maybe better than Flickr.
I'm not confident that Facebook and Google+ will take over the photography enthusiasts' world. I believe that most regular people will share their pictures there (and they already do, on Facebook), but the photography community won't jump on board until there are some very significant leaps (solid API, discoverability features, more niche-specific social features).
But in any case, Flickr is feeling old and creaky, we're all just waiting for something better to come along. Honestly, I'm surprised it's taken this long.
The dashboard is clumsy and ineffective, the whole groups system is backwards and doesn't encourage quality, the Explore algorithm can be quite nice but is too random, the "interestingness" algorithm seems to have crashed somewhere in 2007 and never changes for a given search, and the "contacts" feature has far too much friction for what is essentially a follower system... But as long as I can see new photos from the talented people I follow there, and can share my work with those who enjoy it, I'll keep using Flickr.
Here's my suggestion/plea to Yahoo, however:
The whole user experience really should be rethought with the Twitter-era follower-followee paradigm front and center. Imagine a Flickr where instead of wading through hundreds of redundant, poorly-curated groups to find something captivating, you find photographers whose work you enjoy and easily follow them. Great photos get "re-flicked" throughout the network, prolific members get added to lists that people can follow, and the whole experience becomes much more dynamic, social, and quality-driven.
Flickr, Smugmug and 500px are very portfolio-oriented. Snapjoy and my site (OurDoings) are very memory-oriented.
Facebook and Google+ are social-oriented. They're great for sharing what you did yesterday, but awkward for nostalgia. I anticipate both the portfolio- and memory-oriented sites acting as home base, but feeding out to the Facebook and Google+ for social interaction.
Flickr, Smugmug and 500px are very portfolio-oriented
Unfortunately they have this bizarre concept of a photostream in which you cannot rearrange the order of photos, and they happen in the order of upload and not the date on which they were taken.
Also, while logged in, you cannot filter your own photostream by public / family-only / private photos only. It can be quite annoying, since I have thousands of family-only photos and only dozens of public photos, so I have to log out to see how my photostream looks to outsiders.
You can arbitrarily reorder your photostream (not just sets, your actual photostream), and you can check the organizer to filter your photostream for only public photos.
The key is "upload date" which is editable, and determines the order.
If you don't have a tool for it, go to your set in the organizer, sort the set as you want, go to the first photo, open the edit modal dialog, and start stepping through the photos setting the upload time to 1 second after the last. When you're done, the photo stream itself will reflect the custom order.
Sets already reflect your custom order with no extra work. Some Flickr tools (of which there are hundreds) support reordering the photo stream, using this technique under the hood.
Since everything on Flickr has an API, you can do most anything you can imagine.
All this is true of Facebook as well, and I think it's by design. Nostalgia is often a solitary activity. What social networks want is interaction, so they're going to steer you toward whatever's been uploaded/commented on most recently. Interaction is what grows social network usage.
Flickr was the right 'kind of site' for me back in the day, and still works well as a photo service, not a destination. Google+ is a different kind of site - it's a 2011 socialmediaadservingconnecting site instead of a site with any focus or any emphasis on users creating content of value. The 'you are the product' feeling applies to Google+, whereas Flickr I always felt like I was paying for something of value and getting a relatively honest deal. And 500px feels less like a photo service and more like a site builder - something that doesn't fill my 'place to store all of my photos and export them if worse comes to worst' criteria.
I uploaded duplicate photos by mistake on Flickr and had to go through hundreds of photos one by one deleting them. There's no option to delete duplicates based on file name or file name/creation date etc. because Flickr has basically been dormant from a development standpoint for years.
And yes, you can delete all the photo at the same time using organizer, or you can use the API to write your own delete method.
For people with large collections of their memories, I think it's more common. That's why Snapjoy launched with duplicate detection as part of their MVP. My site (OurDoings) got compliments from a new user on several features, but duplicate detection was apparently the only feature that was capslock-worthy:
duplicate detection. EXCELLENT! Not encountered elsewhere and what a difference it makes, it means that people can dump their stuff even though they havent quite optimised/tagged/cleaned up their local stuff. It detected both duplicates in the file sets I sent (it happens with multiple computers, synchronisation, and multiple aborted organisation efforts) and when i sent files already uploaded. Removes a lot of work :)
If you're using Flickr as an event display solution, it's quite easily done.
I have two pro accounts with Flickr, specifically so I can shoot and present events while still leaving breathing space for my general work. By and large I like it, but there are definite issues with bulk tools and this is one of them.
For example, if you're uploading photos, an app like photoSync (http://webecoz.com) knows enough not to duplicate your photos. It will detect that it's a duplicate and use the copy that is already on Flickr.
I believe it may also recognizes duplicates when it's downloading photos.
Plus it has mobile uploaders and is super fast and easy.
At $24/year for unlimited access/features- I have dropped all others for it.
It's fine for it's original purpose: anonymous reposts on reddit. It's crap for much more than that.
Albums, galleries, and privacy settings are the bare minimum. Flickr does a better job than imgur in those cases already.
They have tons of social network sharing & embed features. Plus a great API. Their categories and subcategories can act much like Flickr's groups but I simply think people don't use/browse them much.
I'm an amateur photographer, the work that I do is of interest to other photogs, rarely to my "real life" friends. Flickr's Groups, for all its faults, allow me to keep up with photographers of similar interests, and they with me - no amount of "Facebook/Twitter/StumbledUpon/+1" button integration will get you that sort of interaction.
There are really two sides to this that I can think of:
- Discoverability: can you discover the work of other people easily, and they yours? 500px has a wonderful way of measuring top uploads and exposing the best work to the world in a beautiful way. Flickr has groups where you can reach out and interact with photogs of similar interests. AFAIK SmugMug has very little in this regard.
- Interactivity: what can you do once you discover interesting, good work? On Flickr you can comment, you can add to group pools (to the collective groaning of everyone, but hey), you can fave, you can give all sorts of feedback. Similar for 500px. SmugMug is not nearly so tightly integrated in this way.
It's very much organized to be individuals of portfolios, there's not a distinct feeling that you're part of a greater network rather than simply looking at a single photographer's work.
Dude: if you don't like Flickr, don't use it. Plain and simple. And if you think you can build a better product, go ahead and build it.
The world would be a much better place with fewer whiners and more doers.
Some of his Flickr photos are against G+ ToS.
He has expressed on multiple occasions his dissatisfaction but fail to disclose his conflict of interest as well as the fact that if he really really hates the service so much he can take it elsewhere or try to start his own (oh wait, that didnt work out).
Putting that aside, he's also done this repeatedly to no avail so it is disappointing to say the least to see people pick up and repeat his deeply flawed message.
You might also want to take a look at the following for some perspective on the man behind the persona.
He has never stopped using Flickr, and still thought Flickr was great when he went to Zooomr: http://thomashawk.com/2006/06/why-im-going-to-work-for-zooom...
The article has it right, though, about Flickr's lack of updates. The most recent major change I've noticed was a year or two ago and, IMHO, it made the site worse.
Absolutely agree. I'm a hobbyist travel photographer, so I end up with essentially two kinds of photos: photos of a place, where I try and form a nice composition, post process (crop, colors, balance, etc.) and then carefully catalog on flickr (for the former, I might take 20,000 photos during a week, and end up with a couple dozen really choice ones I want to keep in this way), and cheesy photos of me and my family at these places, mostly goofing off with statues or whatever.
The semantics of the two kinds of photos couldn't be different. So I use FB and G+ for the latter, and flickr most definitely for my carefully curated former.
Also, the average DSLR has a shutter life expectancy of around 100000-150000 cycles. I doubt you're replacing your camera body every 5 trips.
I usually shoot more like 10,000-15,000 in a week, but I've gone closer to 20,000 in a couple cases. It's only 1500 photos a day for a 10,000 shot week. Which averages just a bit over 1 a minute for an 8 hour day (but who says I only spend 8 hours out and about?) but in truth, the shot times are more clumpy. For example, I shot about 30 photos in 2 minutes of Vasari's fresco inside the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo). I'll probably combine all those into one or two larger photos stitched up.
Differently, walking up to the same Basilica along a street in Florence offered several very different compositions of the same street. In 5 minutes I was able to shoot 20 pretty decent shots, and probably 1 or 2 really good ones.
That's 50 shots of the same building in a total of 7 minutes.
Riding on local public transport often gives you views of lots of neat things, and only one or two seconds to shoot them.
I'm not even counting the family photos I also took in the meantime.
And yes, I'll actually probably start looking for a replacement camera body sometime next year. I shoot with a D60, so it's only about $400-450...trivial compared to the cost of 5 or 6 2- week trips overseas.
My wife used to think I was crazy, but now years later, going over these old photo archives, we can remember in fantastic detail many of the great places we've traveled together.
When taking a picture has almost no cost, people take many pictures of the same thing and sort out the best of the bunch later.
I'm not sure I can replicate that in g+.
About the 1st point: totally agree. I use flickr to look for a good pictures and from time to time to post some of mine that are reasonably OK - for me it's not, and never has been, a site to post photos from last night's bash or socialize with people, that's what Facebook is for (and maybe G+ will be someday in the future (but it won't come easy for them)).
I also don't need the site to change every 6 months - if it works OK (and flickr works OK for me) then changing it is not really necessary (or at least, not that important).
> Flickr will be here long after you are and its cultural significance to our world will outlast your quarter to quarter financial results.
Whereas Flickr enables and encourages users to seek out new contacts, it seems to me that the purpose of Google+ is to better facilitate communication between existing contacts. He doesn't mention this in the post, but does anyone know how was the photo walk organized?
Flickr's search is actually quite robust and amazing. I frequently use the Creative Commons archives for my work as a writer. It's a fantastic resource.
Flickr might be dying, dead or stagnant, but I don't think that its replacement will be a slightly rehashed Picasa. Instead, I'm guessing it will be some sort of new network design that is able to surface photos from multiple sites and accounts and identities.
- Poor quality of work (or, rather, the good photography is buried under mounds of dross). 500px has the advantage of being new, and limits monthly uploads, so the quality there is surprisingly high
- Vacuous comments. "Nice capture!". "Great shot!". This is only made worse when looking at the horror-movie-esque overdone-HDR monstrosity.
- Group and all flashing badge icons in comments
- woeful mobile interface which is slow and eventually displays a non-zoomable postage stamp sized image. I cringe whenever I see a Flickr link on twitter
In short, Flickr might still be a place for photographs but not for photographers. Actually, I think photoblogs or 500px combined with twitter provide a great way of showing off your photos and getting great feedback from people you respect.
I think this is pretty much true, though I'm not sure Google+ will really be where everyone will end up - it certainly lacks a lot of things (like shared circles for example), and whether Google will support those communities by creating the features they want is really up in the air right now.
As for Flickr: isn't it strange how the products with the worst user interfaces always seem to become the most popular? Same with Facebook.
It's probably true that other, newer companies have created better interfaces since then, but I'd argue that they became popular because their interfaces were superior at the time.
Might have been true in the past, but I'll be damned if I don't just insta-close any flickr link I click by mistake these days. I just want to see a picture and half the time I get these two dots swirling around for what seems like half an hour, until it leads me to a half-broken interface with a tiny dot of a picture.
Not worth it.
The only answer I can say myself is that PicasaWeb uses the ugliest possible lossy compression settings on all photos it displays.
Eg. I just went to picasaweb.google.com to check out whether it's $5/mo or $5/year, and what is shows me is a bunch of pictures from my G+ stream, but the whole UX is confusing. It doesn't even have a front page (like flickr.com). Where do I find pricing?
It seems to me that Flickr is better at the whole "do one thing and do it well" paradigm and it results in a much smoother UX compared to the integrated G+ mess.
EDIT: There's a tiny "Upgrade your storage" link at the bottom, pricing is $5/yr for 20GB.
Konfabulator (Yahoo Widgets), Geocites, Delicious, Flickr, Broadcast.com.
Heck, they don't even provide their own search results anymore. Can anyone think of something that Yahoo has bought that has flourished under them?
This latest enthusiasm has me puzzled though. I mean Google+ looks like it's great for sharing photos of limited interest that aren't necessarily public. But it doesn't strike me as a good place to present your art to the world.
Feel free to report it. I personally don't see why he should get a free pass on this.
Facebook gets more photos uploaded than Flickr can ever dream of, but they are family pictures or pictures of drunken teenagers, of poor quality in general. If you want to see art, Flickr is a wonderful place to discover amateurs with talent and there's nothing out there that can beat it.
Also, I think a photo-sharing service has to have good tools for exploring said pictures. On Flickr, even if it has many flaws, it is really cool to search for pictures with a high interestingness score and then to start following the people that took them. I found some breathtaking works of art that way.
On Facebook and G+ you have to rely on your friends-feed instead for discovery, but that's not how art is supposed to be discovered.
Flickr, for all its flaws, works for its intended purpose and can only be killed by another web service that is created explicitly for photo-sharing.
Google is in a position to do that however, but with Picasa Web and not Google+, although integration would be nice.
I don't feel like G+ is at all geared to photographers. Flickr has tons of features/tools that seem natural to many but are key to managing photos, making sets, organizing etc. The meta data alone you can associate with flickr photos is incredible. G+ can make a photo set in the same way Facebook can, not really same target/point.
He makes some good points about the interface stagnation and community excitement (even my own Flickr account has grown weedy and sparse over the years.) However, it was off-putting to see so much, I don't know, what seemed like personal vitriol next to evaluations of the service itself.
The Strobist group is one example: http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/
Thank God we have a competitive market for this sort of stuff now so that I haven't had a reason to visit Flickr in years.
At this point Flickr seems like a site that just survives by inertia, nothing new seems to be done, they have pretty much accepted defeat, I guess.
Flickr will not be rebuilt nor will it be offering incremental feature upgrades of any importance going forward. I'd be surprised if they actually had a dedicated development team versus a group of maintenance developers. The managers are there to make sure I pay for my Pro account once a year and report back to the board that the money is still rolling in.
Google+ pictures to help you share, discover and reinforce social relationships, Flickr to store and organize your crap.
OMG does 500px suck. It's Flickr with a new theme and Stumbleupon integration.
Must have been hosted by flickr then.
I think it's just you.
Stupid sensationalist headline.