Flickr reloaded: new look for the (former) most popular photo sharing platform

Flickr in 2004

The first UI of Flickr when launched in 2004 by Ludicorp, before the acquisition by Yahoo!

On 21st May 2013 one of the most – if not the most – photo sharing site has been completely revolutionised on its appearance and few more aspects. After almost 10 years keeping more or less the same style, something new has just been revealed: think that until few hours ago Flickr seemed an extract of web archive!

Flickr was founded by Ludicorp, a Canadian software house, in 2004. It was just a small web tool aimed at putting in touch players of a Ludicorp online multiplayer game (GNE) that eventually failed. It basically had a chatroom and a real time image exchange service.

Ludicorp, founder and former owner of Flickr announced Flickr launches on 20 February 2004After the game was dismantled, the service was kept alive and, later, sold to Yahoo! that focused on its photosharing capabilities, adding a strong link with cameras and their producers. Ludicorp website has not been updated since, it’s still visible the last post dated 25th March 2005 where it’s announced Flickr acquisition by Yahoo!.

Flickr kept the fashionable “beta” mention close to its logo for years (it’s been cool for many earlier 2.0 websites) and moved to gamma only in 2007.

Here’s a screenshot of Flickr in 2004, you can see that it was owned by Ludicorp at that time… (find more about Flickr history)

Recently it has been suffered of being invaded by mobile shots published through Instagram. Twitter kept away Instagram, but Flickr found on that service a way to repopulate its store rooms that recently, with growth of mobile devices, suffered from having less traffic than usual. Few months ago, Flickr launched and strongly pushed a powerful mobile app to fight Instagram rising market share.

It’s important to notice that on the same day that the new Flickr appeared, its owner Yahoo! confirmed recent rumors about Tumblr acquisition. Well Tumblr is not just about images, but is a bit overlapping Flickr on some points, like Instagram, acquired by Facebook, was overlapping the most popular social medium. Here’s how they present the new release on the official blog:

In the beginning, Flickr innovated the way people share and discover photos. Today, we are shifting the photo-sharing landscape again. We’re releasing a Flickr that’s more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere.

Biggr. A free terabyte of space

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.

And yep, you heard us. It’s free.

Spectaculr. A new, beautiful experience for your photos

We want Flickr to be the most amazing community and place for you to share your photos. So, we’re also revealing a beautiful new design that puts photos at the heart of your Flickr experience, where they should always be. Whether it’s a sweeping landscape or a family portrait, we want every photo to be at its most spectacular.

Your homepage is now a gateway to everything you care about, and all the photos Flickr has to offer. Our new Activity Feed combines your friends’ recent uploads with activity on your own photos, and all in a beautiful design that lets you share and interact right on the page.

(…) posted on 20th May on blog.flickr.net

OK it’s mostly about graphic appearance. The only relavant news for non-pro users is the free TB of space which is enough to store a lot of photos. Before the change, the limit used to be maximum 200 photos for non-pro user. Some parts still remain as they were before though (e.g. personal profiles). Prehistoric tools like badges are not linked anymore but still indexed by Google.

Finally, what is going to happen with the magic interestingness thing, a kind of Flickr-Pagerank that used to determine ranking on the Explore page, giving a lot of visits and visibility to photographers? No news about such algorithm for years, but there’s still a way to determine the two criteria for classifying photos that are “relevance” and “interestingness” (the former closer to real meaning of the image and the latter closer to its name, title, tags, imaginative value).

I’m on Flickr since December 2005 and it gave me a lot in terms of great friends, photo techniques, inspiration, unexpectable achievements (about 2 million photos seen, not including stolen ones…) and, not least, a few business opportunity in the world of digital photography. Here’s my Flickr profile where very nice memories are stored: flickr.com/paolomargari

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