Flickr vs Picasaweb? Sorry Google.

I have a lot of pictures in my photo archive on Flickr. Occasionally some wag comes along and goes “Dude, you should use Picasaweb!, cuz, it’s like, Google!”
Ohhkay. Today I got a link to a friends’ photo album on Picasa, so went to check it out.
Alas, I see more of what Google is getting very good at doing. And that is breaking inherent functionality in environments in favor of the way ‘they’ think things should be done. The rapid AJAX-ification of every function on a webpage is making old tried and trued basics stop working. Sure, it might have some gee-whizzo effect, but Google’s way of doing some link is not like Bob’s way of doing a link and is not like Fred’s way of doing a link. Now we have a world wide web that is fragmenting, rather than sticking with at least a basic access methodology. I shudder to think what this does for accessibility issues.
Case in point. Here is what you cannot do with Picasaweb – this discovered in 15 seconds of browsing the site.
* You cannot middle-click on a photo album picture and open the link in a new tab. In fact, you can’t middle click on anything. If you do, you either get nothing happening, or it just refreshes the page. How unhelpful.
* You cannot right click on an image and view it. If you do, you get “You have chosen to open PBLAH.JPG, which is a GIMP IMAGE. What should Firefox do with this file?” This is wrong. It should view the image as I told it to. Google has deliberately broken their MIME settings to force that dialog.
* Screen refreshes are unintuitive and slow. If you do a search, and click ‘Search Photos’, the screen refreshes, but is blank. Oh, but wait! This is AJAX, it’s still searching! 5 seconds later I have a screenful of pictures. How did I know it was still searching? Apparently I was supposed to mind-read what was going on. The ‘active’ spinner in the browser said things were done.
Dear Google. Stop trying to remake the web in your own image. You’re hurting everyone in the process.

Dave Shevett


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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One thought on “Flickr vs Picasaweb? Sorry Google.

  1. Absolutely agree with this post! Not being able to middle-click on photos in Picasaweb was the very first thing I noticed too, and a year later it still doesn’t work. Gmail has the same problem. Does nobody at Google use tabbed browsing??

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