Ever since I started using photos to enhance my blog posts I’ve wanted to use one photo hosting service that provides me with the following:
1) plenty of space to store photos, 2) reliability, 3) the ability to create different sizes of photos such as thumbnails, smaller versions etc., 4) creation of folders or albums to sort photos, 5) ontrol over which photos or albums can be viewed publicly or not, 6) RSS feeds, 7) an easy way of uploading photos and 8 ) an interface that is simple yet elegant and very usable.
In my quest to find such photo hosting service that has all or at least the majority of those features I ended up signing up and using one photo hosting service after the other. I started with ImageShack, then moved on to ImageCave.com which I use for the bulk of my photo hosting needs. This is because back then, I didn’t have a decent digi-cam to take my own photos so I scoured the free sites for photos I could legally use for free on this blog. (Well, most of it.) Since they were not my own photos, I didn’t need to really take care in choosing a photo hosting service, as long as it hosts the images or photos I want to use and allows me to do so then it’s fine with me.
Why not use Flickr?
Of course convention would dictate that I go get a Flickr account. I do have one but I have the following gripes; it’s free version is limited and I don’t have the money and means to pay for a “pro” account and second, it requires me to have a Yahoo! ID. Why I scorn a little about using a Yahoo! ID is because ever since I moved to using Gmail I’ve steadily moved away from using Yahoo!’s services save maybe for the IM client but that’s for non-blogging and mainly personal purposes. So thanks to Flickr, I still maintain a few Yahoo! accounts but I’ve been keen to drop those.
Flickr is great, it has all the features that I need. The price tag is just what keeps me from using it.
Zooom in the alternative.
The beauty of the internet is that there are almost a thousand alternatives to one particular site or service you want to use but not willing or able to cough up money for it. This was my case with Flickr so I went on the search for an alternative that not only offers the features I want, but wouldn’t go after my wallet. After all, some the best things out there are still for free.
Thankfully, I found Zooomr.com which has all the features I want and need, and the best of all, it gives away PRO accounts for FREE. A more welcomed development over at Zooomr is that they have now removed account limits in what they call Mark III version which sports over 250 new features and which offers users the ability to sell photographs and keep 90% of the sale.
As Best Technology Blogger of the recently concluded Philippine Blog Awards and fellow Zooomr user Max Limpag says:
For bloggers and independent web publishers, Zooomr is a better option not only because 1. it now offers unlimited storage, or 2. it doesnâ€™t limit free accounts to the last 200 photos in usersâ€™ photostreams, but more importantly 3.) it allows you to link photos to their larger versions.
Zooomr is great and I thought it was the final solution to my photo hosting needs. I have one problem with it though, I just can’t find a way to organize my photos into albums and set which ones are public and which ones are not.
Seriously, I need help from anyone who uses Zooomr with this one.
Organize, organize, organize
The reason I want such feature is to organize my photos and other images I upload in the internet via Zooomr or any other similar service. Simply because some images are not worth sharing to the public, I want to present my images as albums because they are related and represent a particular mood, theme, moment or event I experienced. It’s good to see photos of friends mixed up with images of screencaps I took and used for a recent blog post tutorial. Which is the state of my case in Zooomr right now.
I almost gave up on Zooomr because I can’t find a useful Help or Support or FAQ section in their website that will answer my questions and fix my problems. So I went on the look again for an alternative.
Google to the rescue
So I decided to give Picasa Web Albums a spin. It is now owned and powered by Google so all I needed was my Google account and viola! I now have a Picasa Web Album which comes with a free 1GB of storage and Google says it’s still growing much like Gmail’s storage space which is sweet!
The look and feel reminds me a lot of Flickr but I’m more comfortable and feel more in control of everything. It has the standard features like organizing photos into albums, allowing to link individual images from my blog posts in various sizes, it has an RSS feed for each album and allows me to set which album is available to public via search or not.
I’ve been using it as my default image hosting service and the images in the most recent posts here on The Four-eyed Journal were hosted and pulled from my Picasa web album. A big plus is the Picasa application which is a photo organization, manipulation and uploading suite to compliment your Picasa Web Album. Google Tutor gave a review of the app good and fair review. As for my two cents’ worth, I’d simply give this application 4 out of 5 stars.
So what now?
I’m torn between sticking with Picasa Web Album or going back to Zooomr once I figure out how to organize my images into albums. Flickr is currently out of my list because of the price tag on its full features. All the while this dilemma goes on, my images remain scattered across 4 different image hosting sites. I’m such a messy geek.
I need help guys and gals, which one should I stick to? Does anyone know how to organize images into albums in Zooomr? Any help here would be much appreciated.