So, Marissa Mayer has finally started implementing some major changes at the company. Tumblr purchase was huge and expensive. More expensive than what Facebook paid for Instagram. But cheaper than what Google paid for YouTube.
On that day, I almost cursed Mayer for spending so much money on Tumblr when she could have just made Flickr storage policies more liberal.
And incidentally she ended up doing just that this week!
1TB free storage on Flickr. This is huge. This is as iconic as the launch of Gmail with 1GB storage. Rival services back then were still stuck on 2-5 MB free storage at that time. Rival services of Flickr are quite similar in comparison today.
Let’s look at the competition…
Google offers 15GB of free storage on their Google+ platform.
Microsoft SkyDrive is not a direct challenger but it offers 7GB of free storage.
Dropbox is again not a direct rival and it offers 2GB!
Facebook does not store your original photos so it is not even comparable.
500px offers 20 uploads per week on free accounts.
SmugMug does not even have a free plan!
So… What do I think about the new Flickr? I like the new design. It’s a mess but I like mess. It’s heavy and I am ok with that (I love the new Google+ in case you were wondering). 1TB is a lot of storage. I used Flickr Pro for 4-5 years back in the 2000s and stored loads of photos taken from my 10mp camera.
And even I am using just 5% of the free storage quota! So, if you are not a pro photographer storing thousands of 20-30MB photos online every week/month, it should be ok for you! If you are a super heavy user with huge storage requirements, I believe you can still subscribe to the Pro plans on Flickr. USD 25 for unlimited storage was and still remains an excellent value for money offering.
I think Flickr has taken a very serious shot at the entire competition ranging from Facebook to SmugMug. It is very likely that some of them (if not all) would have to respond. I would personally love to see Google respond with something even more spectacular though I have my doubts here.
Flickr has also made some other changes that I really appreciate. You get access to your original photos on free accounts. This is a huge policy change for the company. There is one minor problem regarding ads. Free accounts are likely to see loads of ads in the user stream and around user photos. But I guess few people mind that.
One more thing I was hoping to see on Flickr for a long time now is Data Liberation services. Flickr needs to provide a solid official tool to download all your photos back to your computer if you so require/desire. I know there are loads of third party apps both free and paid. But all of them rely upon Flickr’s API which has a history of being unreliable. For me to take Flickr seriously? I want them to offer me tools to:
1. Easily upload all my photos to it.
2. Easily download all my photos from it.
The web based uploader is very restrictive (200 photos in one go I hear). Desktop uploader has not been updated in 4 years now though I imagine it should get an update soon. I want a tool that lets me sync my Flickr account with my local machine. I want a tool that lets me arrange photos offline which are then synced with my Flickr account. Yes, I am asking for something like Google Drive/SkyDrive/Dropbox. A tool like this would make Flickr a perfect photo storage and sharing companion which provides you complete freedom with your own content right from your own computer.
If Flickr can provide it, it just might become slightly more tempting for someone like me who decided few years ago to avoid them like plague!