Flickr Turns 10: The Photo-Sharing Site’s Rise, Fall and Revival

It’s hard to imagine an internet without Flickr, but 10 years ago was the first time the service saw the day of light.

Earlier photo sites were mostly concerned with letting you put your pictures in front of friends and family. Flickr did that, too. But from the start, it was building a community of photo lovers around the world who wanted to share images with other photo lovers, as well as thousands of special interest sub-communities. It was about storytelling.

Through thick and thin, the community has always been one of Flickr’s primary strengths. There is an insane amount of groups catering to every nuance of photography to the intricate details of architecture and the joy of snapping that perfect family photo.

According to Spiering, today’s Flickr has more than 10 billion photos (vs. more than 250 billion on Facebook — but who ever said quantity trumps quality?). It hosts 1.8 million groups, which are being joined by 50,000 new members a day.

Stats like this really put things in perspective and it says something about the serious infrastructure and engineering that stands behind the site.

I have been a pro member for years and enjoy the automatic uploading of photos through the Flickr iOS app on a daily basis. Together with Flickring I can instantly access any photo I have ever taken with my iPhone and my regular camera. It is perfect as a replacement or in combination with iCloud.

Using Flickr as an iCloud Photo Stream replacement

When Apple first released Photo Stream as part of their iCloud service, I was excited to finally have all my photos automatically transferred between my devices. They were in addition automatically backed up to my Mac, which meant that the need to sync my iPhone to iTunes would be a thing of the past.

What I failed to realize at the time was that although automatically backing up all photos to my Mac was a breeze, there was no convenient way to view older photos the way they were meant to be viewed – on the crisp Retina Display on my iPad.

There are services which have tried to achieve ubiquitous access to all photos, and Everpix was just that kind of service. Once configured, it was basically a set-and-forget solution where all photos were automatically uploaded to their servers. If you followed the above link, you will notice that they are no longer in service since they apparently ran out of money.

I found another solution to my problem, and I think you have heard of this service before. It comes from Yahoo and is called Flickr.

In a recent Flickr for iOS update, the ability to automatically upload captured photos to a private set was added. This gives you the same set-and-forget setup that Everpix once brought, and with 1 TB for free you will undoubtably last a very long time without running out of space.

The problem with the Flickr iOS app is still the viewing part however, which is why I bought Flickring for iPhone and iPad. It connects to your Flickr account and shows your sets and photo stream in a beautiful way.

Since both Aperture and Lightroom support publishing to Flickr, you will always have access to all your photos taken with your traditional camera as well, as long as you have internet access or have synced the photos for offline viewing using Flickring.

Divvyshot – photo sharing for the rest of us?

Divvyshot is a photo sharing site, fresh off the presses. Even though the name is hard to remember, the website is quite the opposite.

Divvyshot has taken a somewhat different approach to photo sharing where albums are thought of as events, and multiple people can easily contribute to them. Imagine a wedding where there will probably be lots of cameras and people taking photographs. Now imagine that everyone upload their photos to the same Divvyshot event, where all photos easily can be downloaded and shared. It is a very simple way to gather all photos in one place, even for non-techies.

If you are familiar with other photo sharing sites like Flickr, you will most immediately spot quite a few differences. The first thing you will notice is the website itself, with its simple and grey theme, yet stays very stylish and functional. All actions have icons with no visible labels, although they show descriptions on mouse over. It might not be completely user friendly, but you get the hang of all buttons after a while.

Nice features like directly importing photos from Flickr are done very well and work great most of the time. There are sharing features, where one can send photos to Flickr, Facebook and link to Twitter. It is also possible to download all photos in one click, which is very handy in the wedding example above.

So will I switch over to Divvyshot from Flickr? In short, no. A longer answer is that Flickr has a huge community, thousands of external apps, an API, integration with Aperture and Lightroom. I will however try it out on my parents and other people who might find Flickr too daunting but still want to easily share photos with friends and family.

Have a look at my Divvyshot account for sample albums.