You are just back from a long vacation; your cell phone and digital camera are loaded with tons of photographs that you have captured throughout the trip.

So how do you share those memorable pictures with your friends and family? That could be a real tricky one because there exists a plethora of photo sharing services on the internet and deciding one that best fits your requirement may involve some effort.

The two most popular photo sharing services are Yahoo’s Flickr and Picasa Web Albums, which is owned by Google. We’ll dig deeper into each of the services to help you choose the right one for your job.

Flickr is a brand that has become synonymous with online photo sharing so much so that Yahoo! is expected to merge the old-n-popular Yahoo! Photos with Flickr in the coming months.

Flickr offers 100 MB of free storage each calendar month but the storage counter is reset every month so you get virtually unlimited space on Flickr without spending a penny. (100 MB is good for storing upto 120 picture of average size).

New pictures can be uploaded to Flickr via mobile phones, desktop software, email attachments or through the web-based interface available on Flickr website. Pictures can then be grouped in sets (like “Vacation in Hawaii”) as well as tags (like “vacation”).

Visitors to your Flickr albums can download individual pictures in various sizes or even order photo prints and other goodies (like T-shirts, mugs, calendars, etc) directly from the Flickr website.

The one very unique feature of Flickr is that your friends and family can interact with the photographs – Flickr turns an image into a virtual whiteboard where people can scribble text notes.

For instance, if your daughter is smiling in a photograph, you can add a note that explains the funny moment, which may otherwise go unnoticed. Or if you have captured a wall of old paintings, attach text notes and visitors can just hover their mouse over the individual painting to learn more about them.

And if you are a creative pro looking to showcase your talent to the world, Flickr is an ideal place for you. You can join related communities and photo pools in Flickr and meet like-minded people (or photographers) from all across the globe.

Flickr vs Google Picasaweb

While Flickr makes it extremely easy for you to upload pictures, it is not so easy to download Flickr pictures and you may have to take the help of third-party services like Flickr Leech to download photos from Flickr to your hard-drive.

That’s where Picasa Web Albums beats Flickr. This Google service comes with a photo editing software called Picasa that seamlessly integrates with Picasa Web Albums.

Through Picasa, you can do basic image editing (like crop, rotate, colour adjustments, etc) and then upload the edited pictures online. The software can also download photos from the online Picasa albums to your hard-drive without any effort.

The downside — Google offers just 1 GB of storage space to free users.

Though Google is continuously adding new features and more storage space to Picasa, the “cool factor” that you can associate with Flickr is still missing in Picasa Web Albums.

Third-party websites like PictureTrail, FlickrCash and Tabblo let you do more interesting things with Flickr photos — you can create 3D photo cubes, puzzle games, slideshows with audio and more using these free services.

With digital cameras and camera cell phones getting cheaper every month, the volume of digital media on our hard-drives will continue to grow leaps and bounds. These photo sharing websites not only make it easy for others to view our content, they also act as reliable backup services in the likely event of a system crash.

Compare Picasa with Flickr