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Comparison of Picasa, Flickr and Shutterfly

by Ashley Poland
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

When you're looking for an online service to manage, print and share your photos, you have plenty to choose from. By narrowing it down to Flickr, Picasa and Shutterfly, you can look at what each service offers in terms of social and practical features versus cost, and choose the one that works for you.

Gallery Service

Each service offers a slightly different style of gallery. Flickr provides you with an overall photostream of your images, with subgalle‪ries called photosets. You can set the copyright and use restrictions for every photo, as well as privacy settings. Picasa, now integrated into Google+, offers similar privacy and interface options to Facebook -- albums are attached to your profile page, and you can choose how public or private your photos are. Shutterfly allows you to create Share Sites as galleries for your photos. You can set these galleries as completely public or require users to sign in before viewing your photos.

Social

As an aside to creating a gallery display of your photos, many of these services offer a series of social features to help build a community around your photos. Picasa is integrated into Google+, making it easy for anyone with a Google account to comment on and share your public photos. Flickr is similarly social, with users able to comment on and favorite your photos; you can also join groups and share with all the members of those groups. Shutterfly is a bit less social. While you can share your galleries and photos, there isn't really much in the way of feedback tools.

Printing

Shutterfly offers several local options for users looking to create prints from their photos; you can have photos printed at your local Target, Walgreens or CVS. In addition to creating standard prints, Shutterfly creates and ships custom photo gifts, such as books and cards. Flickr serves printing via Snapfish, and offers a lot of the same photo options, such as calendars and cards. Picasa offers a number of printing providers, including Walgreens, Snapfish and Shutterfly.

Cost

Shutterfly is free with unlimited storage and free Share Sites, with the cost coming in when you choose to print your photos. Flickr is free up to 200 photos. When you upload more, your old photos are still stored but not visible unless you choose to upgrade to a Pro account; the upgrade price varies depending on the length of your agreement. Picasa offers a gigabyte of free space, with more space available for purchase.

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