Today, Flickr launched a mayor interface update and finally, and I mean finally, eliminated their measly 200 picture limit for free accounts, something that was way overdue.
Yahoo / Flickr now give you one Terabyte (1.000 Gigabyte) of space to show off your stuff, which makes them look a little like a pendulum: either hardly anything or way too much.
Anyway, space is cheap and since they now encourage us to upload hi-res stuff, the first, say, 20 Gigs may fill up quicker than you expect.
That is, if you don’t mind that other people have access to your hires files, which I – for one – do definitely not want.
There is a way to avoid that others steal your images, however, there is no guarantee whatsoever that they will not be able to capture them at at least their native screen resolution, while your Flickr account is also not configured by default from preventing other people to rip you off.
Access to original files sizes must be configured in the Settings menu > Privacy and Permissions > Who can access your original image files?
If you want to avoid losing control over your work, access must be set to “Only you”. Alternatively it can be set to “Friends and Family”, “Contacts”, “Any Flickr Member” or “Anyone”.
Interesting enough, Flicker have either not overhauled their interface completely, or are unaware of the security problems the uploading of hires files implicates, because the latter option is still “Recommended”.
You might also want to lower the max resolution under the “Largest shared image size” item, from the default “best display size” (2048 px.) to a lower value, since this also brings down the maximum size of the files that can be downloaded by others.
Since my only concern is that people get their hands on “reproduction resolution”, i.e. 300 dpi sized images, I have set this value to 1600 (for now), but you may opt to set it even lower; 1024 max.
You can access the settings menu by rolling over your buddy icon in the right-hand top corner of the screen and click “Settings” in the associated menu.
Although a Terabyte seems like a lot, the upside is that they (now?) let you upload TIF files (note that they are converted to JPG on upload) which means that they all off a sudden have turned themselves into a valid cloud storage option for your hires images, as long as you hide them from the public.
Since the interface is geared towards picture management, be that tagging, organizing, viewing, commenting, geo locating, and so forth, Flickr is – for images at least – now a serious alternative for the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud, and at least worth considering for off-site picture archival.
They would need to address the problem of downloading copyrighted originals, but if they were to do so, I would not only be the first to make cloud based image back-ups on Flickr, but this would also be the very first time that I would seriously consider cloud back-up at all.
Still, this may not be their intention and will most likely not drive their business in any significant way, lest they find a way to “connect” with this particular type of mass storage users.
It is a petty that the IQ of the cover photo sucks, even if you upload a hires file for it, but admittedly, if you upload your pics at at least your native screen size, they look pretty damn gorgeous on your Photostream.
Which also goes to show that something as “simple” as an interface work-over can make brutal changes to competitive reality.
Where only a few months ago Facebook was the only free alternative for sharing massive amounts of images (weddings, social events, etc.), all of a sudden Flickr pushes ahead.
If you configure your Privacy and Permissions properly, you might even allow your customers to download hires images without breaking a sweat.
That means bye-bye to burning DVDs, that you can now show off your work on the net with excellent IQ (really!), while at the same time maintaining a reasonable level of control over how, when and by whom your images can be downloaded.
Reasonable in the sense that it can be done, still, ideally you would need folder or at least “Set” level permission control, which is not available just now and – knowing Yahoo – may never become available at all.
Still, as far as I’m concerned, Yahoo / Flickr have just made a pretty big leap. Given their constantly declining visitor numbers lately, this is definitely a good and necessary move.
However, the question is also if they have envisioned the potential they have added and – most of all – if for most users this is not “too little, too late”.
Time will tell.
Kudos Yahoo, for at last making Flickr move.
You may also want to read:
Flickr is dead. Long live Facebook!
Gizmodo: Flashback: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet
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