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best ‘free’ photo sharing sites

News this month is that Flickr has taken the controversial, and potentially alienating, step of charging subscribers for Flickr Pro, its desktop photo upload tool.

The timing of their move doesn’t seem particularly strategic. With Flickr Pro, Yahoo had finally managed, after many missteps, to convince Millennials that they had a product worth using. By removing the Uploadr element from free usage (which allows images to be uploaded directly from computer), they run the enormous risk of losing very recent recruits to competitor ‘free’ photo upload sites.

‘Free’, as always, does need to be qualified. Online apps and services do need to be paid for, either directly or indirectly. We are increasingly aware that that the titans of the industry, Facebook and Google, fund their services by skimming and selling our personal data to advertisers, and we are getting used to targeted advertising appearing in our daily social media feed, as alert to our patterns of cultural consumption as our friendship cohort.

If you consider these practices more enabling than invasive, or at the very least unavoidable, then here are some of the best free photo sharing sites, with a little info thrown in.

Instagram

Three hundred million users and counting! Facebook’s free photo sharing app has no limit on photo and short video uploads. Reposts via Facebook, Twitter and Tumbr are ridiculously simple, photos can be uploaded direct from camera phone and you get to play with all those wacky Instagram filters and hashtags.

Imgur

Free, unlimited photo uploads. An interactive feature allows photos to be ranked by users, and images can be uploaded from local drives, image URL or drag and drop. Meme features means there are loads of great cat pictures.

Google Photos

The search engine giant’s photo upload app again offers unlimited photo uploads, with, as you would expect, great photo editing tools and online image organiser.

iCloud Photo Library

Allowing for integration of photos and videos across Apple devices, iCloud Photo library also facilitates shared friend/family image libraries, with comment options and drag and drop management. It comes with free 5 GB storage.

Facebook

Hundreds of millions of photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.  It has all of the features demanded of a photo sharing service: free, unlimited uploads, folder-building tools, immediate social media access. It also allows for tagging both of friends and photo locations.

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