Yahoo's massive change to Flickr rolled out earlier this week and prompted a flood of criticism from users, dismayed by the wall-to-wall photos and new account plans.
"With over 18,000 negative comments on the official thread, I imagine we, the users of Flickr should receive an official response from Flickr stating whether they plan to make adjustments to their plan, or stick with the current catastrophe," Flickr user Garrett T. posted in the site's help forum.
But it looks like Mr. T may be out of luck. Flickr began responding to users with an official message that reads, in part: "We're sorry to hear that you didn't like the new changes Flickr recently instituted" — which is not exactly an apology. Further, Flickr also said it will not be reverting back to the prior version of Flickr, as many users have called for.
In other words, if you don't like it, you can leave. But where to go? Here are three alternatives to consider.
Like with Flickr, Google recently announced a major overhaul to Google+, an alternative to Facebook social media with a big emphasis on photos. Google folded its old Picasa photo storage site and its online photo editor Picnik into Google+ some time ago, and has now added Snapseed, an extremely popular photo-editing app, to its mobile apps for both iOS and Android .
Despite its primary use as a social network, Google+ photo tools make it a good place to collect your work and it's easy to confine viewers to a limited circle if you're concerned about privacy. Better yet, the Google+ update includes a number of automated features that will appeal to casual photographers. For instance, if you upload a series of related images, Google can turn those into an animated GIF or into a panoramic shot.
And for those who have large collections of photos, Google has added a new visual search, which means that instead of searching by tags (the tags you have to add as you upload each picture), you can type in a search term such as "flower" or "snake," and Google will find the images for you through what it calls "computer vision and machine learning."
You can upload an unlimited number of standard-size photos (2048 pixels along the longest edge of a photo), which is an optimal size for sharing on the Web. Larger images count against your Google Drive storage allotment, which allows 5GB per month across Google Drive and Google+. While you can purchase additional storage, 1T (offered for free from Flickr) will cost $50 a month. As for video, Google+ allows an unlimited number of videos to be uploaded in 1080p resolution, as long as they're less than 15 minutes long. (Flickr caps videos at three minutes.)
The Flickr exodus to 500px started around two years ago and has since become a haven for professional photographers. With a paid account at $50 a year — equal in cost to Flickr's new ad-free account with 1T storage — 500px users receive unlimited storage. And because it caters to professionals, 500px also offers a variety of portfolio layouts that are separate from the photo stream, as well as an online store where users can sell their work, giving a 5 percent commission to 500px.
That said, there's no reason why hobbyists can't enjoy the site. In fact, those looking to improve their photography skills are likely to receive free critiques on their work from this vocal community. [See also: Street Photography Lessons: How to Get the Best Shot ]
Rather than a mass storage site for photos, Blipfoto is based on a daily photo journal, in which users upload a single photo a day. Clearly, this method appeals to a certain type of photographer, but it is worth a look.
The basic service is free, a premium account runs about $38 and both types are ad-free. Premium account holders can upload one photo for every day since their birth — a perk for older folks — and then one a day as with the standard account.
In addition to the website, Blipfoto is also available as iPhone, iPad and Android app. The site offers apps for Facebook and Twitter that you can set to post your photos automatically to these sites. The drawback to Blipfoto compared with other services is a limit of 20MB on photo upload size and you can upload only JPG files.
Before you go
Among those users who are contemplating a move, some are concerned that leaving their pictures behind will mean providing Flickr a resource to earn advertising revenue. User JAMagoo offered an easy solution.
"Change your privacy settings. Flickr can't make ad revenue on images which aren't available for public view," JAMagoo said. "But you still get to keep a TB of free photo storage."
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