Almost everything can be uploaded, stored, and maintained online these days. If you haven’t already joined the cloud computing bandwagon, it’s about time you do. With cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Skydrive, we don’t have to worry about losing precious files when our computers give out. Of all these files, photos are probably ones that mean the most to us. Pictures are our life spelled in images, and once they’re gone, they can never be recaptured.
These 10 digital ways to store your photos in the cloud all offer a different spin to fit your photo-taking and photo-sharing personality.
Instagram’s success is no hype. Its following of 80 million Instagrammers is proof enough. The simple interface of this easy-to-use app turns photos into professional-looking shots in seconds. Since Facebook acquired Instagram, count on Instagram not only as a great way to share your photos but as a way to keep them safely in the cloud for years to come.
Flickr is one of the pioneers of photo hosting services. Acquired by Yahoo in 2005, Flickr now offers both free and paid levels of image and video hosting. A free account lets you store 300MB of images and two videos per month, while the paid pro service offers unlimited uploads per month with unlimited bandwidth and storage. Prices for pro accounts run $6.95 for three months, $24.95 for a year, or $44.95 for two years.
Mobli is a free, cross-platform photo sharing service with a thriving community. Create an account or use your Facebook login, and you’re all set. Follow people, import your Instagram photos, and add stunning photo filters. Public feeds are grouped into interesting channels you can follow.
For integration with your Google accounts, Picasa is the best choice. Its newest version offers Google+ integration, new photo editing effects, and side-by-side editing. What sets Picasa apart from other image hosting services is its Web Album feature. You don’t just dump your photos all in one place; you can organize it just like you would a real photo album! Picasa is not a web application but rather free software available for Windows and Mac.
Online at: Photobucket
Photobucket is one of the few photo hosting sites that lets you store unlimited noncommercial photos (with a limit of 1MB each) for free. Albums can be set as public, private, or password-protected. You can also upload up to 500 videos with a limit of 10 minutes per video. If you want a feature-rich hosting service that’s free, Photobucket is a great choice.
Online at: SmugMug
Price: Starts at $40/year
SmugMug is a paid hosting service that offers unlimited photo hosting at 50MB per image. Pricing starts at $40 a year for a basic plan, with other plans available for professional portfolios or selling photos online. The look and feel of a SmugMug photo site is professional and polished, aimed toward impressing visitors with high-quality images.
SlickPic is a new hosting service with free, unlimited storage (ad-supported at 10MB per image) and a cool, modern web interface. The mobile apps are both excellent additions for uploading and viewing photos on the go. The Plus version ($24.95 per year) removes ads, stores higher-resolution photos at 15MB per image, and uses preset album themes. The Pro version offers unlimited storage for full HD resolution images at 25MB per image, customized album themes, and a backup feature, all for $99.95 per year.
Kizoa doesn’t only offer photo hosting services, but it also lets you create collages and slideshows from your photos — ideal for weddings and other personal life events. Unlike other free accounts, Kizoa has a limit of 1GB, with an option to upgrade for unlimited storage starting at $29.99 per year.
Photoshop is apparently not just for photo editing. Its website, Photoshop.com, offers free photo hosting up to 2GB, with an upgrade starting at $19.99 per year for 20GB of storage space. Uploaded photos can be organized into albums, kept private or shared publicly, and edited with the Photoshop online editor. If you want to access these photos from your smartphone, download Adobe Photoshop Express (iPhone and Android versions available.) In addition to accessing files, the mobile app lets you do basic editing features used on the website such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, and applying image filters.
Streamzoo was lauded as an excellent Instagram alternative at the time when Instagram was exclusive to the iPhone. Today, it’s a cross-platform service (iOS, Android, and web) and continues to be a notable app for sharing and storing photos with a social network. Unlike Instagram, you can access uploaded photos on the Streamzoo website.
Although these services are all excellent options, you have to know which features apply mostly to you. Remember that free services have limitations, and paid options are generally more generous with space and features. Know what’s important to you and how you want your photos to be handled. At the end of the day, you’re still ultimately responsible for your digital snapshots.
[Image credit: Cloud computing via Shutterstock]
Tecca is a next-generation personal electronics information and shopping service. We bring together the web’s leading content, commerce, and community features to provide comprehensive solutions for consumers’ ever-growing technology needs. Think of us as that tech savvy friend who helps you when you have questions about what to buy, what to pay, how to make the most of you already have, and when it’s time to upgrade. Get to know us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Kim Barloso is a freelance tech writer with and a huge Android geek. She spent over 8 years in the BPO industry before she finally took the plunge into writing full time. When she’s not writing, she indulges in her favorite TV shows and catches up on the latest movies. She also writes about her Android obsession in her own blog, GirlMeetsDroid.