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The Cloud, Day 13: Storing and Managing Pictures in the Cloud

30 Days With the Cloud: Day 13

On Day 12 of the 30 Days With the Cloud journey I extolled the virtues of having precious photographic memories stored in the cloud, and automatically synced from my primary camera--my smartphone. Today I am going to dig a little deeper into the cloud-based options for storing pictures.

As I mentioned on Day 12, some of the cloud photo storage options have the benefit of being automatically synced with mobile devices. Every picture I take with my Motorola Xoom is uploaded to Picasa, the pictures I took with the Windows Phone 7 “Mango” smartphone were synced to a folder on my SkyDrive, and pictures I take with my iPhone or iPad are automatically shared with Photo Stream on iCloud.

It is also worth pointing out that I can “store” images on any cloud-based storage option. I can upload all of my images to Box, or Dropbox, or SugarSync, or any other online storage service as well. But, solutions designed with images in mind offer other benefits as well—like the ability to edit the photos and share them more easily with others.

To that end, the three options I find most compelling are Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook. Flickr offers virtually unlimited storage for free—with a monthly throttling caveat. With the free account I am limited to 300MB per month of photo uploads. I can choose, more or less, how many photos that is by changing the image resolution--and, hence, the file size--of the files. I can fit a lot more 500K pictures into 300MB than I can 5MB images.

Flickr is one of the best and most popular options for storing and sharing photos online.
Flickr lets me upload tons of pictures, but the free account only displays the most recent 200 at a time. The previous images are still stored there somewhere, I just can’t easily get to them. If I have linked to the image in a blog or social networking post, though, the link will still work. Flickr also offers a Pro Account for $25 per year that removes most of the restrictions that limit the free account.

Picasa is owned by Google, and it is arguably the main rival for a service like Flickr. Picasa only provides 1GB of storage for free, but it doesn’t count any images up to 800 x 800 pixels, or any videos up to 15 minutes in length against that quota. Since I am also signed up for the Google+ social network, the picture image limit is bumped up to 2048 x 2048 pictures. So, basically I have only 1GB of storage on Picasa, but I can basically store unlimited pictures as long as I stay within the image size limits.

Facebook is a social networking first, and a picture and video storage site only as a function of using the social network, but it has become one of the leading--if not the leading--site for storing and sharing pictures online. Facebook photo storage is virtually unlimited. The only restrictions are that you can only have 200 images per album, but you can create an unlimited number of albums.

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