Flickr vs. Picasa

I don’t know Google’s Picasa. I know of it, but don’t know it. But Kumar yesterday pointed me to it, primarily owing to its recent incorporation of software that identifies people in photos based on other photos of that person. A colleague showed me riya three years ago, similar software, and I was blown away.

This is big. No longer do you have to tag group photos with people’s names. It’s done for you.

It’s a compelling reason for me to leap from Flickr to Picasa, but having just invested $25 for 15 months of Flickr Pro membership, I’m loathe to switch. Adding to that the fact that more and more of my online world is being controlled by Google—Mail, Calendar, DNS, web analytics, search, mapping—means I won’t.

But Yahoo! needs to do two things with its Flickr offering: sort out its information architecture and incorporate face-recognition software. Maybe riya itself?

As for the IA, it’s dreadful. Although for an uploader (or uploadr?), there is a clear concept of the hierarchy into which my photos are uploaded, I don’t this is clear to the viewer. And the concept of adding friends who are already members of Flickr without inviting them to join Flickr by email address seems not to exist—unless I’m missing something.

Someone needs to take a step back from the technology and work out what people are trying to achieve through their photos, both as an uploader and a viewer. Until this happens, the UI will be clunky and unintuitive, and it will continue to lose ground to picasa, and once again, Google will be our default choice.


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