Facebook Allows High Resolution Photos, Bulk Tagging, and Makes More Improvements to Photos

Today Facebook begins rolling out multiple improvements to its photos product. Users will be able to upload and download high resolution photos, quickly view photos in a pop-up light box view without leaving the page they are currently viewing, utilize two bulk tagging features to tag one person in multiple photos simultaneously, and use a streamlined and more reliable Flash uploading tool. Despite the monetary cost, Facebook has made the changes to keep the world’s most popular photos product technologically competitive.

Five months ago Facebook acquired photo sharing startup Divvyshot, whose founder Sam Odio managed these product changes. He tells us that “we took a fresh look at the photos product, built a new vision, and this is the first step towards that vision. Facebook is building out a larger photos team, photos are becoming a priority within the company, and it’s something we felt like we should be doing for our users.” The new changes will only go live for a small random subset of users later today because of the 100 million photos Facebook takes in a day. However, barring any significant problems, the changes will be rolled out to 100% of the user base over the next few weeks.

High Resolution Photos

Users will now have the option to upload photos at 2048 pixels along the largest side as well as Facebook’s standard 720 pixels. This 8 times improvement in quality will cover the resolution of photos taken by most consumer cameras. Larger photos, such as those shot with DSLRs, will be re-sized down to 2048 pixels, or roughly 6000 kilobytes, on the user’s side just before the upload occurs. This means that if you try to upload a 6 megabyte photo, you won’t have to wait for that large file to be sent to Facebook. Users will still have to be patient, however, as the uploader notes high resolution photos take up to 10 times longer to upload.

Anyone will be able to view the print quality, high resolution photos on Facebook’s web interface, and there will be a link below them to initiate a download of a .jpg of the photo. The high resolution will allows users to print 5×7 inch photos at 300 DPI, or perhaps even 8x10s, without any degradation of the image. High resolution photos will also be available through the API, opening opportunities for print products, and high resolution photo experiences on HD televisions. Odio says he’s excited to see what the API partners come up with.

Facebook will still be using its Haystack storage infrastructure for high resolution photos. The significant drop in storage costs over the last five years makes the high resolution feasible, but it will still cost millions of dollars. Odio says, “Zuckerberg made the decision. He though users would appreciate high resolution. He looked at the tab and said ‘Let’s do it.’” Odio explained that all the other major photo sharing sites offer high resolution, including Divvyshot, and while Facebook had previously been focused on sharing memories, not pixels, Facebook is ready to “get with the times”.

Light Box View Of Photos

Soon, you will be able to click a photo anywhere on site, on the news feed or within albums, and the photo will load over a darkened background of the content you were viewing. You can then browse to adjacent photos, or click out or hit escape to close the light box and resume viewing the page you were previously looking at. The view will also include comments and Likes below the photo, only one advertisement instead of two, and the total amount of other text and distracting graphics will be minimal.

Light box view will also help photos load faster. Instead of sending a get http request for a whole new page which would have to be generated by the server and sent back, now Facebook will just construct the light box over your current page and immediately start downloading the image. The image may appear first, followed by the comments and Likes a tiny fraction of a second later.

The change should help users keep their desktops tidy. Previously when users wanted to retain their place in Facebook but view a photo, they would typically load the photo in a new tab. Odio say, “This seemed like a clumsy experience. The funny thing is that everyone is tracking page views. This change will probably cause a significant hit to page views, but we think it’s better. It loads much faster and you don’t lose your context in the content you were interested in.”

To navigate the light box view, users can click the right or left arrow buttons to view the next or previous photos, or click the escape button to close the light box. Users who don’t like the light box and prefer the standard photo view can click the refresh button on their browser to load the currently viewed light box photo in the standard view.

Bulk Tagging

When you go to any album page, you’ll be able to click “Tag photo”, enter a friend’s name, click the face of that friend in multiple photo thumbnails, and hit save to simultaneously tag that person in all of those photos. “People were doing an incredible amount of tagging, but it seemed like a terrible user experience to have to tag each individual photo separately”. Odio says it might sound difficult to pinpoint faces in thumbnails, but it’s actually quite easy.

The original uploader of photos will have access to an express bulk tagging system. Facebook will recognize the same face being present in multiple photos, and temporarily the group photos with the same face together making it easy to tag that person in all those photos simultaneously. This should alleviate uploader tagging fatigue, which frequently resulted in users leaving their friends to tag themselves.

Flash Uploader and Streamlined Flow

Facebook is implementing a new Flash uploader which increases reliability and takes advantage of the greater market penetration of Flash. Facebook has experimented with Java clients and browser plugins over the years, but rewrote the uploader in Flash for its ability to select multiple photos at once. The upload flow has also been streamlined. When you hit “upload photos” you’ll immediately begin selecting photos, and not be first asked to create and name an album as you were before.

Reliability is measured by how many users who at first click “upload” actually end up with new photos appearing on the site. Facebook expects at 5-10% increase in reliability thanks to the Flash uploader and streamlined flow. While users in the US with modern computers and fast connections might not see much difference, users in countries like Indonesia with older computers and worse connections will have a much improved upload experience.

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Leave a Reply

30 Responses to “Facebook Allows High Resolution Photos, Bulk Tagging, and Makes More Improvements to Photos”

  1. Grammarian says:

    “…who’s founder Sam Odio product managed these changes.”
    who’s = contraction for who is
    whose = possessive form of who

    that is all.

  2. Eric Eldon says:

    Ugh, fixed. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    [...] [...]

  4. Facebook Photos Gets Serious « Black Web 2.0 says:

    [...] Facebook (8) | More Beautiful Photos, Inside Facebook Category: News | Tags: facebook, Flickr, high-resolution, light box, photos, [...]

  5. Photo Improvements to Facebook, is it enough? | Bethany Siegler of UniqueThink, Boulder, Colorado 720.771.3271 says:

    [...] InsideFacebook.com: Facebook Allows High Resolution Photos, Bulk Tagging, and Makes More Improvement… [...]

  6. Facebook sigue creciendo | Shft says:

    [...] a ser fan de Flickr, las nuevas adiciones de Facebook a su plataforma de fotos (que no todos todavía pueden ver en su cuenta) son bastante impresionantes y si tomamos en cuenta [...]

  7. En Facebook, las fotos se convierten en prioridad | Jorje Rojas says:

    [...] Inside Facebook ¿Me ayudas? [...]

  8. Facebook permite fotos en alta resolución | El Gueto says:

    [...] que lo hacen más atractivo para sus usuarios, en esta ocasión han decidido adicionar a su plataforma la posibilidad de subir imágenes en alta resolución algo que sin duda alguna competirá directamente con Flickr. Es interesante la manera como crece [...]

  9. Zuckerberg Thinks Size Matters – Facebook Photos are Embiggened says:

    [...] it comes to Facebook, photographers seem to either love it or hate it. With somechanges announced late last week, you’re going to love it or hate it in even bigger [...]

  10. Ooga Booga says:

    Ah, it wasn’t enough of a travesty FORCING users to use java (or worse) and tossing their security to the wind.

    No, we have to make people use Flash (mandatory no doubt, with no non-java or non-ActiveX and now, no non-Flash way to upload).

    I smell a rat.

  11. Giggrrl says:

    This new change has narrowed the options for changing your profile picture. It no longer offers the “make this my profile pic” option in the lower right hand corner so I can’t choose a picture from my album, my only choice is to upload a new photo. I tried opening photo page in Firefox and the lightbox page got stuck and I couldn’t close it at all and get back to my profile.

    Lightbox is NOT an improvement.

    So annoyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Dana-from chaos to Grace says:

    And as a photographer I do NOT want the option of someone downloading my work and PRINTING it. I’ll stick to the LOW-res photos with my watermark splashed across it.

  13. Jason says:

    I second the download options. I don’t like to think that anyone can just DL my work now without paying for my services. I hope this will be optional. Otherwise, I will have to step up the watermarks.

  14. Steph says:

    @Dana-from chaos to Grace

    One of the things i like about Facebook photo albums is that you can select specifically who can see an album. So you can still use the hi-res photos if you just want your family to see the images. But I am a photographer too, and will use the low-res more often. I think it’s handy to have the other option though. :)

  15. Emily says:

    Ditto Dana-from chaos to Grace! Thank goodness for watermarks and the ability to upload low res and down size. I never think an improvement to any platform is one that allows for copyright infringement – on and amateur or professional level. Though I am the latter.

  16. photography leicester says:

    I think that this will be an amazing (and long overdue) addition to the Facebook service. I’m going over there now to have a look at it. Can’t wait!

  17. felix says:

    When are the changes coming to Germany??

  18. Ed Luna says:

    For some reason, I still haven’t seen the lightbox features implemented on my end, and the links to download high-res versions seems to have already come and gone (though I suspect they will reappear at some point).

    But I did want to say to all the photographers out there (of which I am one) that as far as I can tell in my tests, the high-res download link ONLY allows users to download the largest version YOU have uploaded. So if you’re like me, and you’re already uploading images set to the default FB size of 720pixels on the long edge (I use a Lightroom export preset to create those files), then that is the biggest image users can get. 720 is not large enough to make anything other than a sh*tty 4×6 print so you shouldn’t worry too much about having your work stolen (imho).

  19. Josh Constine says:

    @Ed: You are correct, any photos that were not originally uploaded using the new high-res uploader will forever only be available at max 720px on the largest side.

  20. IWANTHIGHRES says:

    why i didn’t have this optioon ? i really want to upload high resolution images!!! :(

  21. JhonnyWanger says:

    i dont have the option either! come on facebook i just bought my first dslr! show me some lurvee!

  22. JD says:

    I’m trying to figure out how to get this Light Box View, I haven’t seen it in practice. I also don’t want to allow people to download the source JPG. It’s not cool of FB to allow source photos to be downloaded.

  23. Josh Constine says:

    @JD: Try clicking on photos in your news feed. If you still don’t see the light box view, you haven’t had the feature rolled out to you yet. Regarding preventing users from downloading your source image, that is an interesting problem. For now the best solution would likely be a watermark.

  24. Graphics / Facebook | says:

    [...] So this is the best article I found on it- http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/09/30/improvements-photos-high-resolution [...]

  25. Facebook Photos: A History [INFOGRAPHIC] | Pixable Blog says:

    [...] http://mashable.com/2010/08/11/facebook-photo-albums/, http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/09/30/improvements-photos-high-resolution/, http://siliconangle.com/blog/2010/09/29/facebook-gets-no-privacy-in-court-new-york-ruling/, [...]

  26. Facebook tests photo viewer designs « ADTELLIGENCE Wiki says:

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    [...] the social networking site has allowed high definition photo uploads since late 2010, only now will the site default to displaying the biggest image at hand. With these new features [...]

  28. Toki Solutions » Broadcast & Technology Solutions Partner » Facebook takes photos high-def and full screen says:

    [...] the social networking site has allowed high definition photo uploads since late 2010, only now will the site default to displaying the biggest image at hand. With these new features [...]

  29. Fotos bei Facebook ab heute mit 2048px | perceptual.de says:

    [...] bei Facebook ab heute mit 2048px ↪ While the social networking site has allowed high definition photo uploads since late 2010, only now will the site default to displaying the biggest image at [...]

  30. Facebook’s Dominance of Photo-Sharing Continues With $1 Billion Acquisition of Instagram | bub.blicio.us says:

    [...] the past two years, they’ve enabled higher resolution photos to be uploaded, in addition to multiple other improvements. Just recently, they’ve placed a bit more emphasis on their photos by making them [...]

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