CNET Top 5: Best photo storage sites
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CNET Top 5: Best photo storage sites

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Wondering where to stash your photos online? CNET's Donald Bell counts down the best five digital photo storage services.

People take more photos today than any other time in human history. Facebook alone handles over 250 million photo uploads each day, over 6 billion photo uploads per month. Thats a lot of kitties. And while were fortunate in this wonderful digital era that we no longer have to worry about physically storing all of our photos in empty shoeboxes, you still need to be choosey with where youre uploading your precious memories. Im Donald Bell, and in this Top 5 Ill be counting down the five best sites for storing and organizing your digital photos, selected by CNETs Sharon Vaknin. 034517/d287954ds1.htm BODY ----------------- 5. Shutterfly Starting off at #5: Shutterfly. Heres a name that has been around since 1999. Completely free, unlimited storage, they have apps for iOS, and Roku, and you can order prints for pickup at Wallgreens and Target. So whats the catch? Well, Shutterfly makes their real money by selling your photos back to you. When youve got a winner you want to print out, they do the printing. You cant even redownload your photos at full resolution. Instead, you have to pay to have an archive CD sent to you. Still its a great option for parents and grandparents who tend to print and share a lot of photos anyway, but the limitations put it at the bottom of our list. 4. Photobucket For something a little less rigid, try #4: Photobucket. As a rule I dont trust businesses named after buckets, but I guess its better than picture trough, or image feedbag. For better or worse, this site has become the preferred dumping ground for every photo meme and animated GIF on the web. There are nearly 10 billion images hosted on Photobucket, and their free account makes it easy to get started. Great social integration with sites like Facebook. And there are paid accounts for people who want to store large collections. The bad news is that there are file size limits, even for paid accounts -- so really not a place for the pros. Also, if animated GIFs and cutesy photo fluff drive you a little nuts, this is not the place for you. IFs?sort=3&page=1 3. Smugmug For the more discerning photographer, theres #3: Smugmug. The youngest of all the sites on this list, Smugmug is a paid-only service that starts at $5 a month. For the money, you get zero ads, unlimited photo uploads, and portfolio quality photo galleries. Needless to say, this site is big with professional photographers, partly because it does a great job presenting your photos, but also because it allows you to redownload your original images with no hassle. My only problem with Smugmug is that its still a young service. Its not yet in the Too-Big-To-Fail zone. Maybe Im too pessimistic, but if my photo service goes broke or gets bought up and put on the shelf, I want to know that theres an army of users out there with me ready to raise hell. As great as SmugMug is, it would die a relatively quiet death. 2. Picasa So how about #2: Picasa. It seems fitting that a company like Google, obsessed with organizing the worlds information, would also be great at organizing your photos. Its a free service, though you can pay a small price for extra storage. It works with a huge variety of image formats, including RAW. And theres a desktop app that works on MAC and PC. Its not all roses, though. First, theres this awkward transition of Picasa Web albums to Google+ Photo albums, as Google slowly lumps all of its services under the Google+ umbrella. Then theres the issue of privacy. I know Im a little paranoid, but Google already knows every email I send and every web search I make. Do I really want them having all of my photos too, complete with geotagged location data. Its a bit too far for me, but at least I know theyll look after my photos as they mine them for information they can use to sell things to me. I suspect I have got Canadian Pharmacy written all over me. 1. Flickr So that brings us to the #1 recommended site for storing your photos: Flickr. Free, but with plenty of features. Way too big too fail without riots in the street. And its owned by Yahoo, a humbled tech giant with something to prove. Unlike Google, Yahoo is more than happy to let you share your uploaded photos on Facebook or Twitter or Wordpress. Heck, theyre just happy to have you around. Flickr is to Yahoo what Xbox is to Microsoft. Its the only successfully cool product theyve ever pulled off and theyre not going to risk screwing it up. You get excellent privacy controls, a huge community thats been growing since 2004, and a free account that entitles you to a Terrabyte of space. You can upload short videos, you can redownload your original photos, and the mobile app is actually pretty great. So there you go, five sites for backing up and organizing your digital photos. For a more in-depth comparison, check out Sharon Vaknins roundup over on CNET How To. And for more Top 5 videos, Im Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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