CS and the City Sean Lynch

Photog Predicament

Another year, another reluctant Pro upgrade of my Flickr account. I’ve been taking less and less photos over the years (I partially blamed my camera: a DSLR which I recently sold). Despite Flickr adding a number of cool features, I just haven’t been compelled to keep up. Looking at my Flickr Friends, it looks like I’m not alone. For now, I’ve bought the upgrade to access some older pictures I no longer have copies of. Next year, I hope that I won’t be faced with the same locked in.

I’ve become compelled to move to Picasa Web Albums. Today, Picasa announced facial recognition integration to automate the process of “tagging” people, a function that has become the killer feature for Facebook’s photos.

But a couple things are holding me back from moving to Picasa:

  • I’m at a loss as to why I can’t buy an unlimited account like I can on Flickr.
  • Picasa software doesn’t run on my Mac (Not a massive problem as there is a Picasa Export tool for iPhoto)
  • No one uses Picasa besides the Google crew

I’m wondering if I have the wrong expectations for my web-based photo management. Perhaps I shouldn’t be treating the web layer as global storage and management so much as the presentation layer. Most of my albums on Flickr and Facebook are a subset of the photos I have in iPhoto anyway. Many pictures never make it out of iPhoto because they are blurry or just boring. It’s easy to see iPhoto (or Picasa) as the main library, Flickr, Facebook, and Picasa as just galleries.

The problem with this configuration is that, despite the web simply being a way to share photos, much of the metadata (titles, descriptions, comments, keyword, geo, and face tags) is scattered across the sites. I’d love if Picasa (or Flickr, or Facebook for that matter) became my defacto management layer, pushing content to all others and pulling metadata back. Maybe I’m letting my architecture astronaut side get the best of me.