google plus photos, flickr, wordpress

I’m giving up on social networks. Between G+, Flickr, Twitter, Path, LinkedIn, and whatever else, it’s just too damn hard to manage them all. It feels like work, which is exactly opposite the point of being connected to my friends.

Whither Facebook? No, sorry. They don’t give you control over your own stuff. When computer nerds talk about “bla bla bla privacy”, just replace it all with the following question — do you have control over your stuff? Facebook doesn’t give it to you, at least not as of today, in the amount that you deserve. So no matter how much other shiny stuff Facebook might tempt you with, it’s not worth it because you’re lending them your things without the promise you can get them back. If they change in the future, great — I’ll happily change my mind. But until then, they can go fuck off.

So, what to do about photos? Because every superfluous service ditched is a step closer to sanity. After wasting two hours of my life, I’ve discovered it is possible to use Google Plus Photos to mostly replace Flickr for my primary use case, which is hosting images for my WordPress blog.

Why Google Plus?

  • Lots of storage space. And it’s free too, which is a bonus. (I pay for Flickr Pro currently; it’s been worth it, but I’m just getting fatigued. Sorry, Flickr!)
  • You get to choose who sees your photos.
  • You can download all your photos in a batch. You can let others do so too. This is great if you want to take your ball and go home if Google makes you mad, and it also allows Auntie Susana to grab all your photos to make a calendar or mug or whatever with.
  • You can embed the photos in your blog.
  • It’s super duper easy to upload photos from your phone. In fact, you can turn on automatic uploads from your phone.
  • You can specify a Creative Commons license for your photos. This is important to people like me who care about the open flow of information and data.
  • You can get stats via Google Analytics.

So what’s the catch?

The catch is that you can’t actually do those things from the Google Plus interface today. You need to actually go into Picasa Web to manage your photos and.

With Picasa Web, you can:

  • arrange the photos in an album in the order you want
  • set a cover photo for the album
  • grab the link to an individual photo to embed elsewhere, like a blog
  • set up analytics tracking

Don’t even bother trying to figure out how to do those things in Google Plus Photos. You can’t, at least not today. Luckily, Picasa Web does see all the photos you’ve uploaded into Google Plus; you can manage them in Picasa, then flip back over to G+ to share with your circles if you want.

Feature for feature, Flickr Pro is moderately better. But in the bigger picture of “too damn many social networks”, something’s gotta give. Again, I’m sorry Flickr. I loved you for a while, and will always remember you fondly. But it’s time to consolidate and simplify.

uds-o, budapest scenery edition


Those with a keen eye or snoop around in the exif data will note that I made all of these photos with my Canon 10-22 wide angle lens. It’s becoming my favorite general purpose “travel with just one lens” lens in spite of several clear weaknesses. For most tourists who simply want to show they were there, this lens will capture more of “there” than any other, especially the grand buildings that are so prevalent in Europe. And, after a bit of practice, you can start taking advantage of the lens’s distortion to make interesting images of day-to-day life (since the small moments are what actually make travel interesting), but usually end up rather boring.

On the down side, the lens is slow and you’ll occasionally get frustrated with the “all wide, all the time” perspective, but on the whole, it works well for me as my walking around tourist lens, especially when you want to travel light.

Check out the full set here:

Budapest 2011

Oh, and for several reasons, I didn’t take many^Wany photos of UDS itself:

  • “still life of people in meeting rooms” isn’t exactly the most exciting subject
  • I left my Speedlite at home
  • my lens is too slow (F/3.5-4.5 ) for most indoor shooting
  • and anyway, you can see all of Sciri’s fantastic people photos on his site

alberto and mlegris disagree