Well there were two choices. Either Yahoo! had to ditch/sell Flickr, or the company needed to drastically remodel the ageing service to keep up with the times. Thankfully for those of us who are fans, the site has not been sold but instead has received a gorgeous update and more.
The new Flickr, announced yesterday, unsurprisingly has moved to a more Pinterest themed motif, with large format infinite scrolling image browsing and one click access to all the important parts of any photographic library. As you might expect the site has also responded to the massive threat posed by Google+, which has been improving its photographic library/gallery experience for a number of months, by introducing a lovely mobile app for Android and moving the home page to an easier scrolling model similar to a Google+ stream. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
But the real beauty goes much deeper than just the front end user interface. The service now offers a massive 1TB of storage space for your photos for free, and all the tools you need to offer instant sharing of your works are included right where they’re needed, on the front of the image itself. Finally Flickr is bang up to date, and a worthy home for your images.
There’s a ton of other features which are now available, including full screen slideshows and revamped user pages, and although some are just updates from the old service, the fresh interface has given them new life. Browsing by camera type for instance is now just a couple of clicks, and the results page is great.
This is a fabulous tool to connect with others using the same equipment, and share ideas, inspiration and experiences. The community behind Flickr should find the changes give a huge boost to the interactivity around images, which is what counts at the end of the day if Flickr is to stabilize and grow its user base.
Finally we love the popup keyboard shortcut help which you get from a quick press of the – key. Again, this may have been there before, but we never knew it existed, and it’s a great way to help people (especially newcomers) who want to move around and browse more efficiently. All in all the upgrade is terrific, and the massive extra free storage space should be enough to tempt any cynical user back to the fold.
From where we’re sitting this is a new level of commitment from Yahoo! which we haven’t seen for a long time, and it’s a welcome return. If this is a sign of things to come (and we can’t help feeling that the company’s recent announcement about buying Tumblr may dovetail into the revamped Flickr in some way over the coming months) then let it roll. Time will tell.