"Best photo storage sites"
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CNET Top 5
CNET Top 5
Best photo storage sites
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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, Top5.CNET.com
Im Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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