When Google launched Picasa Web Albums in June 2006, we wrote a detailed review comparing Google's offering with Flickr, a Yahoo! owned service. Flickr clearly emerged as the winner in Round One but lot of things have changed since then.
Both Google and Yahoo have updated their online photo sharing services in the last few months and so we decided to do a comparison again - Flickr vs Picasa Albums Round II.
Photo Storage Space and Uploading Limits
When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 100MB of photos each calendar month but the counter is reset ever month and the overall storage space is therefore unlimited even for free Flickr accounts. With Picasa Web Albums, you get only only 250MB of free storage space.
Cost & Benifits of a Pro Account
A Flickr Pro Account is available for US$24.95 a year and you get unlimited storage space and unlimited bandwidth. A $25 yearly subscription on Picasa Web Albums will get you only 25 GB of extra storage space and if you pay $500 per year, you get 500 GB of storage space in Picasa Web Albums. Unlike Flickr, there's no unlimited space option in Picasa Web.
Limitations of a Free Account
For free users, Flickr will limit the number of photos that are displayed to just the 200 most recently uploaded photos though the older photos won't be deleted. Also the large size photos are automatically resized to 1024 pixels at the time of uploading. Each photo that you upload to a free Flickr account must be less than 5MB in size.
Picasa Web Albums won't resize your high resolution pictures even if you are a free user. They limit the individual photo size to 10 MB.
Uploading Photos Online
Both Picasa Web and Flickr offers basic tools for uploading pictures online but Picasa Web Album users have an advantage here - they can use the Picasa Image Editor to upload their photos directly using the software. No such "official" tools exist for Flickr yet that can enhance images and also upload them.
Downloading Pictures from your Photo Galleries
When it comes to downloading images from the web to your hard disk, Picasa Web Albums wins by a large margin again thanks to Picasa software. Users can select the Picasa albums / pictures that they want to download and the software will automatically download the entire set in a single click. A useful feature that you will miss in Flickr.
Other Unique Features of Flickr
» Flickr allows anyone to add notes on your photos or annotate them.
» Flickr easily lets you search public photos of other users by tags, descriptions or even based on Camera models.
» With a Flickr pro account, you can replace one photo with another keeping the tag information, picture description and comments intact. May come in handy when someone is using your photos without credit.
Picasa vs Flickr - Who's the winner ?
Google has definitely paid lot of attention to Picasa in the last few months - they have added support for tags, introduced pro accounts for international users and significantly enhanced the Picasa desktop software.
However, Picasa Web is very expensive - Flickr offers unlimited storage space for $25 an year while Google wants you to pay a dollar per GB.
Picasa software definitely makes life extremely simple for managing your online Picasa Web Album account but other than that, we really found no convincing reason to switch from Flickr to Picasa Web Album.
Flickr clearly walks away as the winner of Round II as well. In Flickr, you feel like being an integral part of some community, something which you would never experience inside Picasa Web Albums.