According to a blog post by Google they updated Picasa yesterday, (although the Picasa Readme is dated September 15). It looks good and brings a bunch of new features most notably Picasa Web Albums, sort of a Flickr that goes along with Picasa. So, I thought I’d compare them side by side.
I’ll be comparing the free versions of both services since I think that’s what most people will want and I’m too cheap to pay for the advanced versions.
We’ll start with with Picasa Web Albums
Picasa Web Albums have a pretty cool AJAX based interface that’s pretty fast loading and easy to use. Also, the web albums integrate seamlessly into Picasa itself. Uploading is easy and fast and you can be shown the web album right away. It’s lots of fun and super easy.
You are limited to 250 MB of storage, (as opposed to Flickr that limits how much you can upload each month), but can upgrade to 6.25 GB for US$25/year.
There are several drawbacks however. The Picasa software itself is available for Windows only and you must use the Picasa software to create a web album. Also, you can only have a Picasa Web Album if you are invited so this isn’t truly open to the public yet.
Using the Picasa software you can geotag images using Google Earth and it’s pretty cool but the geotags don’t carry through to the web album. And finally, part of your URL for your Picasa Web Album is your Google username, which is also the first part of your Gmail address. This, in my opinion, is an invitation for spam.
Now for Flickr
The most basic difference between Picasa Web Albums and Flickr is that the Picasa system is built around the software whereas Flickr is built around the website and community.
Flickr offers its users unlimited storage but you can only upload 20 MB of photos each month. Also only 200 of your photos will show on your page, (although the photos will still be in the Flickr system somewhere). If you choose to upgrade to Flickr’s Pro account for US$24.95/year you get a 2 GB of upload bandwidth per year and your photos appear on your page forever.
Uploading your images to Flickr is perhaps slightly more challenging than uploading from Picasa but Flickr offers a piece of software called Uploadr to help you on your way. Uploadr offers resizing and drag & drop uploading and it tells you how much of your upload limit you have used. Flickr Uploadr is also available from Flickr itself for both Windos and OS X, and a version is available from a Flickr community member that runs on Linux.
Finally Flickr offers tagging and really easy geotagging, (using Yahoo! Maps and the tags & geotags are available for the world to see, (if you let them).
To wrap up while Picasa is great to organize photos on your own Windows PC if you really want to share your photos and be part of a photo sharing community Flickr is the way to go. That’s why you see photos embedded here from Flickr.