the departure of Flickr's co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield broke out across the web. In light of Yahoo's recent troubles, not to mention the small but notable list of other resigning Yahoo employees, some users who have relied on Flickr's service for years are starting to wonder about its future. Is it time to look for an alternative?Yesterday, the unfortunate but none-too-surprising news about
For those that are hedging their bets by setting up shop elsewhere, the photo sharing web site called 72Photos is hoping to attract their interest by creating the next gen flickr. The site isn't brand-new, but they've been adding and perfecting their feature set since their initial launch last year when they were known as "XMG Image."
In a recent interview on Ajaxian, Eric "A" (no last name given!) of 72Photos claims that his site isn't doing anything "extremely new or groundbreaking in terms of features at the moment" because they're currently trying to appeal to more mainstream and novice users. However, after taking a look around, it's possible to say that he was just being a little modest. Even though the site is still relatively new, there are a handful of features that at least make it a worthwhile competitor. Here are a few worth taking note of:
Fully Customizable Photo Galleries
Where flickr has sets, 72Photos offers photo galleries with drag and drop functionality for adding and arranging photos. Galleries can be customized with different colors and fonts and several built-in preset themes are also available. When you make changes to a gallery, you can preview the results in real-time.
Photo Gallery (Image Courtesy of Ajaxian)
A feature called "Photostage" lets you embed images or galleries onto your blog, web site, or social network profile. These are fully customizable slideshows, similar to what Slide or RockYou would offer, but much more professional looking. There's also a Photostage app built just for Facebook users.
For bloggers, 72Photos currently offers plugins for both WordPress and Mephisto that let you add photos from your account onto your blog. There's also a Firefox search plugin that lets you search 72Photos from your address bar.
The social element is very much at play on 72Photos. You can track your friends' activities on the site right from your dashboard, which is the landing page you arrive on upon login. Like flickr, contacts can also be marked as "family" or "friends" and permissions on photos can be set accordingly. User profiles are nicely done, too, highlighting an individual's photos and galleries from the front page.
User Profile Page
No Monthly Upload Cap on Number of Uploads, Photos
The only differences between the free membership and the Pro membership ($14.95/year) are an overall size limit per account and a bandwidth limit. Free accounts only have 200 MB of storage space and a 10 GB/month bandwidth cap. Pro users have unlimited bandwidth and 5 GB of storage and more advanced editing features. Plus, Pro accounts are ad-free.
More To Come
Right now, 72Photos is a good alternative to flickr and other similar sites, but it may not be offering enough to encourage established photographers to leave flickr's large community for another startup. However, 72Photos plans to release some features in the future that may have them considering otherwise. Soon, the site will be expanding their feature set to appeal to the professional by providing areas for artists to sell their work as well as offering a way to allow photographers to find models in their area and vice versa.
A Few Problems
In browsing the site, you can tell that the design has been carefully thought out, but there are still a couple of areas where it needs tweaking. For example, either I'm getting old or the font choices on a few pages were a bit too small to be easily read.
There also isn't a good way to find and add new friends at the moment beyond inviting them via email - so Web 1.0! For a site that aims to be a social network for photographers, there has to be a better way to connect with others.
I also ran into a technical error involving a security certificate on one of the pages, something that would certainly frighten off the novice users they wish to appeal to.
However, despite these issues, there's still potential for 72Photos to do well, once they are resolved. Although in reality the majority of flickr users won't be likely to leave that site anytime soon, 72Photos may offer enough appeal to pros that they might at least establish a secondary account here for promotional purposes.