I use Flickr to host my photos and I love it. I haven’t had any problems with the site, and I’ve been a happily paying customer for a couple years now. There are tons of photo sharing sites available though, and it seems Flickr is far from being the clear winner, despite having lots of positive brand recognition.
In fact, I think Facebook is probably the largest photo sharing site on the web.
Here’s what I have been able to find:
- Flickr has just over 500 million photos (as of 5/15/2007).
- SmugMug has over 140 million photos (as of 3/30/2007).
- Webshots has just under 500 million photos (as of today).
- Fotolog has over 240 million photos (as of today).
- Photobucket has over 2.8 billion images (as of today).
- Facebook has 1.7 billion photos (as of yesterday).
Notice how for Photobucket I said “images” – that’s because they host a lot of icons, graphics, and other kinds of items that aren’t really photos. There are a bunch of other sites that fall into that category as well. Another site that probably should be on the list is Zooomr, but I couldn’t find any stats for them. I suspect they are somewhere between SmugMug and Flickr.
Clearly, based on the number of photos stored, Facebook is the winner. They have incredible growth too (over 60 million photos added per week) as outlined in yesterday’s post. Certainly just hosting the most photos doesn’t make one site better than another, but it is still pretty interesting to compare. SmugMug’s Don MacAskill is always talking about speed and performance, and for good reason – SmugMug is the clear winner in terms of load times. There are a lot of other metrics that could be used to compare sites.
The one disadvantage Facebook has (depending on how you look at it) is that all the photos are behind their walled garden. Otherwise, you could almost consider them a photo sharing site instead of a social networking site!
For me, the most interesting thing is the total number of photos across all these sites – over three billion ignoring Photobucket, just from the sites I listed. I find it unlikely that there are many duplicates (ie, most users don’t post photos to multiple sites), so the number is particularly astounding.
Just imagine what the first photographers back in the 1800s would think of this photo sharing craziness!
UPDATE: Turns out my estimate for Zooomr was horribly off the mark. Don points out in the comments that they have 1 million photos – and that getting to the million mark is a big deal (Thanks Don for the info). I think I guessed so high because of the many TechCrunch posts covering Zooomr! Oh well.