Facebook Photos Go High-Res: Beware, Flickr

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Facebook is challenging Flickr by adding support for unlimited high-resolution photos, plus a new photo viewer and uploader, which are rolling out throughout October to all users. Facebook images can now be as big as 2048 pixels at the image's largest side, compared to the 720-pixel Facebook standard.

Facebook's new image editing tool (click to enlarge)
Any uploaded photos larger than 2048 pixels (around 6MB in size) will be resized on users' computers before they are uploaded, meaning you won't have to wait for the photos to be resized on Facebook's servers. Facebook, however, warns that it could take up to ten times longer to upload high-resolution photos. Users can choose between uploading standard or high-res Facebook pictures before the process takes place.

Facebook is not limiting how many high-resolution pictures you can upload, and will offer an option to download the high-res version of the picture for prints or other uses. In the blog post introducing the service, Facebook's Sam Odio took a spoke at rival online photo services such as Flickr, now owned by Yahoo. He writes, "unlike on many other online services, you don't need any kind of premium or paid account" for the new features.

Image light box (click to enlarge)
Along with the high-res photo support, Facebook is introducing a new photo viewer that will feature a light box (the dark frame around your pictures). Code for the viewer is apparently written from scratch, so that browsing through your photos will be faster.

Other improvements include the capability to tag multiple photos in the same album all at once, and tagging photos of the same person more quickly. Facebook says the photo uploader has been rebuilt as well (in Adobe Flash) for faster uploads and photo processing.

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