Flickr vs. Picasa

So, this past week I played around with Picasa and thought about how it compared to Flickr. Playing around with the features of Picasa was a lot of fun. I fell in love with the embeded photo slideshow that can be put on any blog or web page.

I am working with WMU’s Department of Dance to put together a show called SexyTeenLoveIdol — which is a show about how online dating/facebooks/cellphones/relationships are moving so fast that we don’t connect as well any more. My role in the show has been to build a unique website that looks and functions like many of the social networks and online dating sites. The show will take place later in October. I excited because I actually get to be on-stage in the show — I’m playing a web developer and the site is used to segue between scenes. The reason I’m telling you this is because, using Picasa for photo albums provided me a very easy way (vs. hand coding in flash) as very attractive and interactive photo sharing tool for the SexyTeenLoveIdol site. So — I’m already applying a fun new tool from this class to my work life!

Comparison of the tools

Both of these tools have standard features:

  • You can share photos online
  • You can download a software application for organization and upload of photos

The features that make Picasa realy cool:

  • Their desktop software is really great and intuitive for organizing photos (provides free alternative to iPhoto or Adobe Photoshop Album)
  • Ability to embed an animated slideshow in a web page
  • Can copy photos to any compact flash capable device
  • Make or order prints
  • Easy backup to CD or DVD
  • Make gift CD(s) with slideshows
  • Turn photos into movies
  • Print posters

The features that are really cool about Flickr include:

  • Ability to add map/location meta data to each photo
  • Ability to add notes to specific areas of an image
  • You can provide lots of alternate resolutions — specified by you
  • You can order lots of other stuff based on photos (prints, cards, stamps, etc)
  • Flickr has a plug-in that integrates with iPhoto or Aperture
  • You can upload photos from camera phones etc.

Part of how these tools functions is based on their original intent/design. Picasa was a company that was purchased by Google. They really were aiming at making an easy to use desktop application for organizing, editing, and sharing photos. They did tie some of the funcitionality to the Web — but that doesn’t really seem to have been the main reason for making the tool. So, you tend to see more features that are related to collecting, fixing, and sharing photos.

Flickr was a Web 2.0 application from day 1. So, we see the ability to log a lot of additional information, like where the photo was taken (marked on a map), the ability to tag specific sections of a photos and add captions to each and every object in the image. Flickr has a lot more social networking aspects to their service too.

My overall reaction, is that I love them both. Whichever one I used would depend upon what I was trying to accomplish. Flickr is great for sharing and discussion and lots of detail. Picasa provides a slick way to embed stuff right in your page, make movies/DVD to share with others — it is more of a real-life, face-to-face sharing tool. Whereas Flickr is online collaboration/sharing.

How to use these in a classroom?

For digital storytelling, Picasa is a winner. It is free, you can add captions and create movies and slideshows easily. For learning more about photography, discussion and group work Flickr kicks butt and takes names. So, pick the one that will help support your learning outcomes/objectives.

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