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This article was published on March 9, 2016

Google Photos is about to gain from Flickr’s big mistake

Google Photos is about to gain from Flickr’s big mistake
Amanda Connolly
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Amanda Connolly

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Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter

Flickr won me over last year when it released version 4.0 of it app and a new Web interface and features. However, now the company has announced that it’s making its best feature – Uploadr – available only to those with a Pro account, I may have to eat my words. 

It will now cost you $5.99 per month to enjoy the ease of Uploadr.

The handy tool can upload thousands of pictures automatically from your hard drive, iPhoto or external devices within minutes and instantly removes duplicates. When you combine that with the Magic View feature, which works by using image recognition to divide pictures into surprisingly accurate categories, it works like a charm.

However, now that Flickr has split up its winning combination, anyone who doesn’t want to pay the monthly subscription fee (like me) is left with thousands of images on Flickr’s servers.

Where to go next? Well, I had always championed Flickr above Google Photos because of its ease of use, Magic View and search functionalities but now the latter seems like the next best option.

My colleague, Owen Williams, has said he is “totally and irrationally in love with Google Photos,” so now is definitely the right time to check it out.

Google Photos offers everything you can get from Flickr and it’s free, so that’s a bonus. It also has some quirky features, like automatically making GIFs from your images, as well as slideshows set to music from groups of photos around specific events, like New Year’s Eve or weddings.

Its search function is up to scratch as well, allowing you to search for pretty much anything, like ‘dogs’ or ‘beach’ and providing you with accurate results. There’s one caveat though, Google Photos only offers facial recognition in the US yet, so you’ll need to use a VPN to enable that right now. It is something that I’d expect to see rolled out globally in the near future.

Being owned by Yahoo, it’s understandable that Flickr is ramping up its efforts to make money but I can’t help shake the feeling that its platform, which is still great, will suffer as a result of the monetisation. And Google Photos will be the one to prosper.

➤ Changes to Flickr Pro and coupon for 30% off annual rate [Flickr]