Flickr announced on Thursday that it’s making changes to its service. (Flickr was bought by SmugMug back in April.) It’s dropping its free 1TB tier, which was added back in 2013 in a then-bid to attract users away from services like Instagram. Instead, Flickr is now limiting free users to a maximum of 1000 photos and videos, regardless of photo resolution.
Users with more than 1000 photos/videos will have until January 8, 2019 to upgrade to Flickr Pro (now $50/year) or delete enough content to get below the limit. Otherwise, as of February 5, 2019, Flickr will start deleting any content over the 1000 limit, starting with the oldest material first.
Flickr’s also offering some improvements to its Pro tier. Pro offers unlimited photo and video storage at full resolution, plus some enhancements to photo/video information. It’s also planning to drop the requirement to log into Flickr using Yahoo.
Concerns about the new free Flickr
I can see why Flickr’s dropping the 1TB tier and making other changes. Storage isn’t free, and the old storage tier dated from when Flickr was in a much more desperate position.
That said, the deletion of older content if users don’t pay up sounds not only the wrong way of handling things, but also potentially disastrous. (Simply not allowing new uploads for those over 1000 photos would’ve sufficed.) There’s a lot of embedded Flickr photos all over the Internet, which might mean a lot of broken images in the future.
I also wonder how this will affect Flickr’s Creative Commons photos, which is one of Flickr’s remaining strong points. (Update: It looks like we’ve got an answer, though my concerns above still stand.)
While paying for the Pro tier is one option, some might not feel $50/year is worth the cost. Here’s some alternatives to staying with Flickr.
Google Photos offers two free storage options: unlimited free storage, but at a lower resolution; or full resolution photo storage up to a 15GB overall limit (Google Photos shares the 15GB free space with Google Drive and Gmail).
If you want extra storage, Google offers such under the name “Google One.” Google One starts at $2/month (or $20/year) for 100GB of space. Higher tiers include: 200GB (for $3/month, or $30/year); 2TB ($10/month, or $100/year); 10TB; 20TB; and 30TB (for a whopping $300/month).
I use Photos to back up photos from my phone at full resolution. Clocking in just under the free tier level, I’m storing more photos than what’s allowed under the new Flickr 1000 photo free limit. Even paying for the 100GB upgrade would be far cheaper than what Flickr Pro runs; I’d also be unlikely to hit the 100GB limit anytime soon.
Instagram is the popular Facebook-owned photo sharing service. It’s become one of the dominant ways of sharing photos online. There’s no charge, though Instagram seems more geared toward casual photo sharing than professional-level features.
Dropbox offers some photo hosting features along with its general cloud storage service.
Free users receive 2GB of space, though various deals can offer increases in storage. Dropbox also offers several paid upgrades, starting with a 1TB “Dropbox Plus” service for $10/month (or $100/year).
500px is another option for those looking for professional photo hosting services. The service offers monthly and annual photo account upgrades, along with a limited free service. Their “Awesome” tier starts at $6.49/month (or $47.88 annually), while their “Pro” tier runs at $12.99/month (or $71.88 annually). Both tiers offer unlimited photo uploads.
Do any of you still use Flickr? Or have any plans to switch services?