Facebook is at heart a social network but the services and products that have developed around it can be impressive on their own. For example the social network can be considered the world's largest photo hosting site and there are over 20 billion photos on Facebook at the moment. Now Flickr is looking to steal some of the users back with a feature that adds a lot of social functionality, people tagging. And the best part is that the feature is much more comprehensive than Facebook's.
“We’ve launched People in Photos, a new feature that will help put a face to the Flickrverse and enable you to highlight members that you’ve photographed in a whole new way. People in Photos lets you add a member to a photo, find photos of people you know, and manage which photos you’re in,” Flickr's Heather Champ wrote
. The photo sharing site has also updated the member profile section to adjust for the new tagging feature. “Finally, you’ll see that your member profile is sporting a swanky new look. In addition to featuring a few of your recent favourites, if you’ve been featured via People in Photos, you’ll see thumbnails of those pictures too.”
The “People in Photos” tool is easy enough to use. Users can select a photo and start entering a person's name and, as they type, Flickr scours their contact list to find possible matches. There is also the option to draw a rectangle over the person's face to indicate which one they are. Pretty standard up to here but where the feature stands out is in the privacy options, which are far superior to Facebook's.
The feature can be very useful but there are times when users might want to be less identifiable especially in photos that may not exactly be the most flattering. Flickr allows users to untag themselves from any photo and also select the people that can tag them in their photos. They can also select the users that can tag the photos they shared themselves. Unfortunately, while the tool itself is better, Flickr is likely to have a lot less of your friends than Facebook so it is less useful here. On the other hand the feature may encourage more people to get connected and share their photos on Flickr so this could work out in the end.