So Refresh and So Clean
Flickr, in the midst of its most drastic makeover since its acquisition by Yahoo, just announced it will be rolling out a new embedded photo editor to users over the next few weeks starting tomorrow. The HTML editor will be powered by New York online editing software-maker Aviary.
“We listened to you to find out what you value the most in an online photo editor, and the same 2 attributes kept coming back: speed and simplicity,” Flickr said in a blog post today.
Flickr has approached in-app photo editing in baby steps. In 2007, Flickr encouraged users to use Picnik’s third party editor to tweak their shots. (Picnik, which was bought by Google, will be shuttered later this month.) Aviary, which has a third-party app that lets users flow their Flickr photos into its online editing suite, will be replacing that functionality.
Flickr has started rolling out those major changes we told you about, and the early reviews are glowing. The “contacts” screen where Flickr shows new photos from your Flickr friends used to look like a tiled bathroom wall that was mostly caulking; the photos were tiny and there was a ton of white space. Now photos are larger and each row is neatly justified to span the width of the screen, filling in the white space without cropping or altering any individual photo. It’s a simple change, but it’s the most significant makeover Flickr’s had in years.
As Flickr explained:
We created this new view to make it easier to see the stories your friends are telling with their photos. While the previous layout choices are still available, the new design optimizes for seamlessly displaying more images at larger sizes, so you can see more of the activity from contacts, friends and family at once.
Needless to say, our Justified layout always respects the aspect ratio of the original image and will never crop your photos. We’ve also added quick access to comment on and fave directly on photos in this view.
Flickr will be rolling out the new view to all its users this week. The initial response from the photo site’s often-critical crowd: delight!
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
As Betabeat reported Tuesday, Flickr is making major changes–and apparently getting serious about protecting user copyright is among them. Late Friday VentureBeat published an exclusive on Flickr’s new move to combat copyright infringement by Pinterest, the wildly popular darling of digital image curators everywhere:
Markus Spiering has, as they say, a good eye. Most of his resume was in mobile before he became a senior product manager for Flickr. In March 2011, he slipped into the head product role, lording over Flickr’s 45 or so employees. “”I have the pleasure to run product management for one of the most exciting web sites in the world: Flickr,” he says on his website. He’s in town for the Photo Hack Day hackathon this weekend, the first small sign of what could be the company’s reinvigorated interest in its audience.
Mr. Spiering is very happy to be making extensive changes to the Flickr interface, the first of which will roll out next week, as he explained in a meeting with Betabeat, Yahoo’s Jason Khoury, and Flickr.com, looking pretty on Mr. Spiering’s Macbook Air.
Mr. Spiering moused over the current photo view. “This is very typical of Flickr,” he said. “Lots of white space, small photos, lots of information around.”
He then opened a new tab to show the spread, completely revamped. Suddenly the photos look more than four times their current size and lie neatly justified on the page, somehow jigsawing together without cropping or changing the order in which they appear.
The new photo view will hit on Feb. 28, Mr. Spiering said, and with it comes a new upload interface. Flickr’s uploading page now looks more like an app than a website. Goodbye, retro blue links. Hello, swoopy drag-and-drop.
This Week in Layoffs
Earlier this week we wrote about how Yahoo had laid off at least five employees including the highest level of customer support at Flickr, sad news for fans of the photo sharing service. Flickr pulls in money via $25/year pro subscriptions, advertising and a licensing deal with Getty. Still, one analysis last year put Flickr’s revenue at $50 million a year on pro subscriptions alone.
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
Yahoo announced mass layoffs back in December of 2010. But today we got news of some significant layoffs at the photosharing service Flickr, via a former employee, engineer Nolan Caudill. “I don’t really know the real purpose of me writing this. I’m always hesitant to write anything good, bad, or otherwise about my past employers, but this one deserves to get called out,” he wrote in a blog post. “Yahoo made a major mistake today and there’s no other way to interpret it. I’m mad and this is my soapbox.”
Just in time for a post-mortem on Carol Bartz’s tenure as CEO of Yahoo comes an interview with YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley in The New York Times about their plans to revamp Delicious. Even before her abrupt cellphone ouster by a bunch of “doofuses”–her words, not ours–Ms. Bartz was criticized for her “failure to innovate” or even capitalize on innovative acquisitions like Delicious and Flickr.
So what will Delicious look like under the leadership of Mr. Chen and Mr. Hurley, who purchased the bookmarking service after Yahoo threatened to shutter it or sell? According to AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes, “The new Delicious sounds a lot like the old Delicious brought up-to-date,” but that’s sort of the point. The need for a service like Delicious, the forward-thinking bookmarking site that never quite caught on outside early adopter circles, is heightened by the torrent of information flowing from social sites like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and more.
A map of photos geotagged by users. Orange dots are tagged on Flicker. Blue dots are tagged on Twitter. White dots are both.
Whether it’s Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, email or any of the many usefuly web-based services that are all the rage now, users should keep in mind that terms of service can change, companies can be bought and mistakes can happen—especially if a service is free.
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Flickr has almost nearly restored all of user Mirco Wilhelm’s paid account after a snafu caused more than 3,400 of his photos to be deleted.
Additionally, the company has extended his Pro membership until 2036, for free.
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