Yahoo has announced that Flickr, the photo storage and sharing site bought by Yahoo way back in 2005, has been brought into the 21st century with a new look, new pricing, and a new Android app. Unveiled at a press event in New York City Monday, the new look aims to breathe new life into the once struggling brand, reports Mashable.
Flickr was among the first big photo-storage sites on the Web, and was incredibly popular — until cooler, more versatile alternatives arrived and stole its thunder. A few minor updates have kept Flickr competitive, but services like Instagram, 500px, and Smugmug have been leeching users away for years.
Gone is the old Flickr interface of small thumbnails, gobs of whitespace, and lots of metadata.
The site’s new desktop design makes photos the focus – an obvious one you’d think for a photo-hosting website, but years of mismanagement had, until today, left Flickr feeling a bit like a web design relic.
Images are now displayed in a collage-like scrolling gallery on user’s profile pages, ready to be blown up to full screen with a click.
Now the site has big thumbnails, full-screen pictures by default, and metadata for each image tucked below the fold.
Flickr’s Lightbox view, that removes the clutter around the page and shows pictures on their own, remains available.
The home page now shows photos of everyone you subscribe to with the most recent handful of pictures that your contacts have uploaded. Each user’s photostream displays a big tiled view of their pictures. This isn’t entirely new to Flickr—it was a feature of the site’s Explore page—but it’s new to individual user pages.
“There’s also a new slideshow mode that beautifully showcases photos so you can simply lean back and enjoy them without lifting a finger. We combined elegant transitions and facial detection technology to make sure the key elements in every photo are highlighted,” says Yahoo in its blog.
But more importantly than the new website design, Yahoo also announced that it is giving all users 1 terabyte of storage, or about 1,000 gigabytes, that they can use for photos and video.
“At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality,” Yahoo said in a blog post.
“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.”
New Pro accounts are no longer available, though current Pro users will, for the time being, be able to renew their Pro subscriptions and continue to reap the benefits of both ad-free and unlimited storage, says ArsTechnica.
The catch is that from now on, ads will appear on your photo and gallery pages — not likely to be a popular development. For $50, those ads will be removed for you, but not for those looking at your photos.
$500 per year doubles the space to 2 terabytes and blocks the ads, though one could always just start a second account and use that, informs NBC News.
There’s also a new Android app available in ten languages to go along with the existing iOS offering, with Flickr looking to court mobile users as well as desktop based image archivists.
“We’re releasing a Flickr that’s more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere,” Yahoo said.
Flickr joined the Yahoo family in 2005, but Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said at first it “didn’t fare so well.” Today, it reaches 89 million people who have contributed more than 8 billion photographs.
Mayer said she was petitioned by the Internet when she joined Yahoo last year to make Flickr better and made it one of her biggest efforts to do so.
“As soon as you come to Flickr, you know it’s not about small pictures and more… and you can easily share not only with those you connect to on Flickr, but also on Instagram, Facebook and of course, to Tumblr,” a spokesperson said.