Flickr Is Back, Letting Us Go Home Again

Blogging this mostly because of the good writing.

Facebook is a continuing nightmare of privacy disasters. It’s the bathroom door that resists all efforts at locking, swinging open again and again while you’re trying to poop. When even Mark Zuckerberg’s own sister (and also the company’s former marketing director) can accidentally share photos in wider circulation than she intended, there are clear privacy issues that are yet to be worked out. And although Facebook’s great for sharing snapshots with your friends, it’s no so hot for pure storage.

Meanwhile, Instagram is knee-deep in its own problems. In December, it announced a new terms of service that made its users howl in protest, and was forced to roll them back after significant backlash. There’s some evidence that caused a drop in usage. It has another issue as well, one that may not be important every time you take a photo, but the more photos you take, the more it grows: It’s just not well suited to keeping pictures over the long haul. Upload a photo and Instagram automatically crops it into a square. There’s no way to store the original resolution file to download later. You can’t un-apply those filters. Want to go back and find an old picture you took? Too bad. Instagram is more or less useless when it comes to search.

Instagram and Facebook have another problem: Snapchat. Snapchat offers all the immediacy of Instagram or the Facebook News Feed, but none of their permanence. Much of Instagram’s original appeal was that it was a quicker Flickr — a rolling visual record of what your friends are doing right now. Facebook won fans by promising only your friends would see your pictures. But Snapchat is far faster than Instagram and far more private than Facebook. While Snapchat gets a bad rap for enabling sexting, it also is a legitimately cool way to share fleeting moments with just one person, right now, with relative assurance no on else will see it.

Which brings us back to Flickr. —Flickr Is Back, Letting Us Go Home Again | Gadget Lab |

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