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

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Flickr makes it pretty easy to link to your photos and share them with the world, but if there is an advantage to Picasa or Facebook it would be the integration with the Google+ and Facebook respectively. The social network is the most natural place to share pictures with friends and family, so a picture storage and management solution that is tied to my choice of social network can be a plus.

That said, Facebook is probably not the best way to go due to the fact that it relies on Facebook. Picasa is woven into Google+, and Google+ users get more Picasa benefits, but Picasa is also a separate entity--like Flickr--that doesn’t require Google+ access in order for me to share my images.

As with most things cloud, the “best” choice for an online picture storing and managing solution is subjective. The primary factor that makes one better than the next seems to be based on my other cloud decisions, and selecting the cloud-based photo service that syncs, and most closely integrates with my choice of mobile OS.

I take most of my pictures with my iPhone, so Photo Stream is an obvious choice.
In my case, that makes the Photo Stream service with Apple’s iCloud a winner. I take pictures with my iPhone or iPad, and they are automatically uploaded to Photo Stream, and synced with my other iOS devices and PCs. Conversely, I can take pictures from other devices or cameras, and put them in the Photo Stream upload folder on my PC and they will be automatically uploaded and synced as well.

The problem I have with Photo Stream as my primary cloud-based photo storage option is that it keeps them in an Apple / iOS bubble that works fine for syncing and storing the images, but doesn’t make it easy to share them with others. By virtue of where my friends and family hang out online, and my own social network of choice, Facebook is my primary method of cloud-based photo storage.

Trusting all of your priceless memories to an online entity isn’t really any more comforting than knowing your pictures will all be destroyed if your house catches on fire, though. Tomorrow I will take a closer look at the caveats and pitfalls.

Before I end Day 13, a quick side note about Day 11. Some readers correctly pointed out that I had forgotten about Amazon, and the Amazon Cloud Player in my discussion of cloud-based music options. You can purchase 20GB of Amazon Cloud Drive storage for $20 per year, and Amazon is throwing in unlimited space for music files with it for a limited time.

I am taking a closer look at Amazon Cloud Player after some reader comments from Day 11.
In essence, that makes it $20 per year for unlimited music storage online, and a Web-based music playing utility that makes your music accessible from virtually anywhere. I am in the process of uploading my music collection to Amazon—about four days and counting at this point. I’ll report back later and revisit the cloud-based music options again another day.

On that note, I am sure there are more cloud photo options than those I have mentioned here. If you have one that you like and use that I didn’t mention here, or other ways to link services like Flickr into your social networking sites, feel free to share it in the comments and I’ll check it out.

Read the Last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Windows Phone 7

Day 12: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

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