Yahoo! recently unveiled a huge upgrade to the well-known photography site: Flickr. As I'm sure most of you know, Flickr was one of the web's original, and best, photo sharing sites. Over the years, however, it has fallen far behind in terms of features when compared to many of its competitors such as Google+ or 500px. Will this upgrade help to bring Flickr back into the good graces of photographers everywhere? Only time will tell. In the meantime, here are my initial impressions of the new Flickr
A Full Terabyte of Storage…For Free
Even with all the aesthetic changes that Yahoo has built into the new Flickr UI, the most impressive announcement may very well have been the increase in free storage to a full terabyte. This is really huge in my opinion. With that much free storage many amateur photographers could potentially store ALL of their photographs on Flickr. A properly tagged and organized collection of photographs could make finding a specific image you took 5 years ago a breeze. And you could do it from anywhere, on any device. I intend on uploading the vast majority of my photography to Flickr in the near future and making an effort to use it as my organization tool for all of my images. You can look forward to a post describing my efforts sometime in the not-to-distant future.
Visual and UI Changes
The first thing I thought of when I logged into the new Flickr for the first time was "Wow. This looks a lot like 500px" and that's a very good thing. Yahoo! has really made and effort to make it about the images again. You are presented with a scrolling feed of large, beautiful images. Some of which are your friends images and others are photos recommended by Flickr. If you like what you see you can click the "Add" button to permanently add that user to your feed. This is a very welcome change and really helps you find other photographers you might be interested in following.
Overall, the new UI definitely gives Flickr a much more "modern" look and is certainly an improvement. That being said, I can't help but get the impression that this design overhaul was very rushed and not much thought was put into the overall flow of things. While some pages (like the homepage) look brand new and feel like they were rebuilt from the ground up, other parts of the site look like they just added the black navigation bar to the top and left everything else the same. In my opinion, this really makes things feel disjointed and incomplete from a UI perspective.
Full Resolution Photos
One of the features Yahoo! has really been touting is that you can now upload full resolution images even with a free account. This new addition, along with the free Terabyte of storage should really make Flickr stand out against the competition when photographers are deciding where to post their images.
Flickr was long overdue for an overhaul and this update does a pretty good job of addressing many of the complaints the photography community had over the past couple years. The combination of 1 TB of free storage and the ability to upload full res images is going to be extremely compelling since most users will be able to upload and manage their entire library of photographs in one place. The new look-and-feel should really help Flickr compete with competitors such as 500px who have similar "large image" feeds. There is still a very disjointed feeling as you navigate to different parts of the site, however, and hopefully they are working fixing these issues soon.
In summary, Yahoo! has obviously decided that Flickr is a property that they value and are now putting some resources and dollars behind it. The Terabyte of free storage really sets them apart from their competition and should push the market to start offering much higher free storage numbers. The look and feel could use some cleaning up but there is no doubt that they are moving in the right direction. With some more time, resources, and dollars behind it, Flickr has the potential to return to its former glory and beyond.