Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Seriously [insert name of online photo site here], seriously?

So my brother is on vacation and sent me a link to some trip photos on his SmugMug site. I'd never heard of that site, and was quite impressed. Since I've always hosted my photos on my own custom site, I signed up for their free trial to check it out.

And then when the site couldn't handle a particular feature I'm working to add on my own site that I have to have (I'll tell you what that is in a bit), I went to Flickr. Then I went to Google+. Then Photobucket. Then ShutterFly. Then PictureTrail. This was quickly turning into a rabbit hole I lost interest in going down.

The feature I can't live without? I have tagged about 20,000 photos in my Aperture library with family and friends. I just want an online album that can handle that.

But Flickr does handle that, you say. Well, not really. I uploaded 200 samples to Flickr, then did a search. Nothing. So then I went to Tags, and there were all my people tags. So I clicked on one, and there were the photos with search box populated with the people tag. So I click in the search box - which already had the pre-populated tag from before, hit enter and it told me there were no matches. Huh?

But Google+ does that, you say. Well yes, if everyone in your family that you want to see and search the photos has a Google+ account - or the entire world if you want it all to be public. No thanks.

The story seems to be the same everywhere I looked. Why is this software so hard?

It isn't. I'm almost done with my own. A simple file scan from a servlet upload handler for the jpg people tags from Aperture, fed through Lucene for search, Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt and your done. It just ain't that hard. And these companies are HUGE and they can't do this right? Please.