Google Photos vs Flickr

September 29th, 2017

I’ve been using flickr since it started in 2004. It’s been my number one place to store photos – i have over 50,000 at this point.  However, I need something else to be my main photo storage.   Why?  Mainly since now that mobile is taking over, the way I take and manage pictures is different.  For me, my phone is my primary camera and has wifi, so should be able to easily upload and manage photos from it.  However, I still need to do some advanced functions that are hard to do on a phone, so desktop UI should allow this.  Second reason is because yahoo got bought by Verizon, leading me to wonder about flickr’s future.

Enter Google Photos, which I’ve been using now with Android phone for almost 2 years.  I tried Google Picassa a while back, didn’t like it for some reasons (desktop focused), loved it for others (good for power users).  Picassa has been slowly been replaced by google photos, and most of key features have been ported over.

Comparison of the features I care about


Google Photos
Future uncertain Better and better, AI
Phone – upload easily to cloud so-so YES
Phone – syncing with cloud (edit and auto sync) so-so YES – best if use Google Photos as photo app on phone
PC – uploading so-so Yes
Organize – create albums Yes Yes
Organize – create collections Yes No (no grouping of albums)
Organize – advance finding of photos, managing  large amount of photos and albums Yes organize so-so
Share – Easily share albums for viewing Yes
Share – Easily share albums for collaborating so-so Yes
Share – auto-create albums, videos, etc No Yes – cool AI
Dynamic share – easy to group of photos not in album Yes
Update Dynamic share – easy to tag “Best of 2015” Yes No
Collaborate – others can add to albums, etc Yes so-so
Find – easily find pictures so-so – can find if labeled, but no AI
Yes – search is fast and covers words in Description as well as image
Find – easily find albums / collections so-so – easily via organize so-so – gets bad after large amounts of photos (thousands) or albums (hundreds)
share pics on chromecast (TV) so-so Yes

Reasons I love Flickr, in order

  1. Organize – Flickr has an advanced web interface to create and organize photos into albums and collections.
  2. Search – all my photos tagged with “Best of”
  3. Browse – Anyone can browse my collections of albums.  This used to be super easy, but UI changed recently and its not as easy.

Reasons I am leaving Flickr, in order

  1. Hard to upload photos quickly into album to share
  2. User Interface – Too much focus on individual “photos”.  That is, too hard to find meta info like album, collection

Reasons I use Google Photos

  1. Adding – Easy and fast to get photos from phone to an album I can share with people.
    1. Both phone and Desktop make it easy to select photos and add to album
    2. Albums by default are private, but just like google docs, you can share with anyone via a generated share link
  2. Finding / Search
    1. Just like google web search, any word I explicitly add to photo allows me to search and find that photo later.  Basically tags.
    2. google auto-organizes photos so you can browse for things
  3. Archive – You can download entire albums from
  4. Embed photo on blog
    1. Easy to get embed HTML with 3rd party tool like

Needs improvement on Google Photos

  1. Google – Organize albums into collections
  2. Adding Description when I take photo in Android.
    This one is a bit tricky – Right now, the Google Photos Android app will only show the Description field after the photo has been uploaded to the cloud.  This is only an issue when you do not have internet or have very slow internet.  With fast internet, you can solve this by force syncing, waiting for it to finish, then clicking Info icon and entering your personal meta details in Description field.


Google Photos

2021 Update

Google Photos got worse with Android 11 –

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