Time to Give Up on Flickr, Everybody
Once upon a time, there was nothing like Flickr. If you were a person who cared about taking, editing, and sharing photos, it was the best and most robust community of like-minded people on the Internet.
Now that’s not true. Far from it. For the photo-nerd crowd, 500px and SmugMug are just two of the many places you can talk about photos in a deep, constructive way. Instagram, is, well, it’s Instagram. It’s the place for photos, the way Flickr was once the place for photos. Even as it updated its search and organizational tools, Google Photos came along and one-upped its every feature. So Flickr re-branded a bit.
Just shy of a year ago, Flickr started offering 1,000 gigs of free storage to every user, along with an automatic uploader tool that would help you take every photo from your computer, your external drives, and SD cards, and dump them into one place. Flickr’s search engine was good, the new universal Camera Roll interface was great, and Flickr suddenly seemed to have a chance as a permanent archive of all of our photos. But then, this morning, Flickr announced that once again its best tools will only be available to paying users. It’s time to call it: Flickr is dead. Over. Kaput. In the search for a few more people willing to fork over $35 a year to fund more purple offices, Yahoo has killed its photo service.
Today’s announcements really only include one change of consequence: The desktop Auto-Uploadr tool is now reserved only for Pro users. That means there’s no easy way to upload big batches of photos all at once, into the same place, unless you’re a Pro member. The move feels a bit like ransomware, Yahoo forcing people who’ve already bought into the idea of Flickr as a permanent backup to start paying for the privilege. And it kills the notion that Flickr can be a useful, simple, automatic way to keep all your photos backed up in one place.
Flickr Pro is a good service, that for some subset of serious photographers is well worth the price. But most people are just as well-served by Google Photos, or Facebook, or OneDrive, or Dropbox, or any of the other services that automatically back up your photos to the Internet (for free). This move turns Flickr back into a niche product, a social network for photographers. And that’s fine! Luckily for the rest of us, we can just head to photos.google.com. Google’s automatic uploading tool is still as free as can be.
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