Picasa Increases Album Limit from 1,000 Albums to 10,000 Albums
Ok, this is just smart marketing. In the past Google’s Picasa photo sharing service had a limit of 1,000 albums that you could create on the service. I actually would be surprised if a single user on the site had hit the 1,000 album limit. I’ve been posting to Flickr aggressively for over five years and even I don’t have 1,000 albums on Flickr yet (to date, interesting enough though I’ve got 994 sets on Flickr so I’m close).
A few weeks back I blogged that I thought you’d see Google step things up with Picasa a bit now that Buzz has arrived and can serve as a social interaction engine for the site. The more I think about it, I’m not sure if a Picasa/Buzz combo will end up becoming Google’s competitive answer to Flickr or if Google might do something else entirely, but I can tell you that I think that Google is presently *very* well poised, better than they’ve ever been, to take Flickr on in significant ways.
“We want Picasa Web Albums to be a place you can share and store all your digital photos, regardless of how many you have. We recently made extra storage really affordable, but until now, Picasa Web accounts have been limited to a maximum of 1,000 albums. We heard that you needed more room, and because we want you to keep sharing your photos and posting them to Buzz, we’ve worked hard to now raise this limit to 10,000 albums.”
Now here is another smart thing that Picasa has done. By default they show you 100 albums. But they give you the *option* to click a link and see all of your albums. Now why is this great design? Well it keeps Picasa’s main album page fast loading for everyone. While some of us are constantly on fast connections, we have to remember that many other people are not. By loading 100 albums this makes it easier for those on slower connections. But by giving an easy link to all of the albums for those of us with fast connections, it offers us a more dramatic way to view albums on Picasa.
Flickr by contrast just recently (ugh, paging sucks Flickr!) decided to page your sets pages. What does this mean? It means that now you (and your contacts) can only see a miserly 30 of your most recent sets. This means that if you have a lot of sets on Flickr like I do that 30 of your sets get exposure while the other 964 effectively get buried. It used to be that if you looked at my Flickr sets page you got to see them all. Now you only see this. This sucks for me as a photographer because it makes it *much* harder for me to find my sets, but it also means that less people will be seeing my sets going forward.
You can follow a thread of users complaining about this decision by Flickr here. They did offer a workaround hack for users to use for their sets in that thread, which was smart, and allows *me* still to access all of my sets on one page, but it doesn’t deal with the fact that anyone who follows my work likely won’t know about the hack so they’ll still be stuck with sucky paging. You can see all 994 of my sets on one page by the way using the hack here. If you want to use the hack yourself, just add ?page=1&per_page=10000 at the end of any set url for either your own sets or someone else’s on Flickr.
By contrast, Google provides users a very handy link to see all of your sets on one page right there on the 100 sets page.
So Google shows 100 of your sets with a link to show all of them, and Flickr only shows 30 with no link to show all of them (but offering a hack for those in the know to see all of them). I think Google’s page design here is superior. I also like the way that Picasa uses larger thumbnails for their albums than Flickr does.
There is one area (and a far more significant area) where Flickr has Google beat on sets though. And that is in SmartSet technology. With Flickr’s API, developers have developed ways to organize your sets on Flickr by keywords — a far more efficient way than manually creating sets by hand. There are two primary web based sites where you can organize SmartSets on Flickr. Eric Appel has SmartSetr and then there’s Dopiaza’s Flickr set manager. I probably like SmartSetr more here because it doesn’t limit the number of photos you can have in a set. Dopiaza’s tool limits a set to 500 photos.
By FAR though my favorite way hands down to organize my sets on Flickr is using Jeremy Brook’s new tool SuprSetr. While SuprSetr still has bugs and is in beta, I find that it is the most robust and consistent performing set manager I’ve seen yet. In fact, I’d say that for me personally, SuprSetr is the most important and most significant improvement that I’ve seen around Flickr in the past five years.
Now if Google really wanted to leapfrog Flickr in set management with Picasa, they’d actually incorporate Jeremy’s SuprSetr application as a feature for Picasa.