What is Flickr?
Flickr: The First of Its Kind in Photo and Video Hosting Services
As one of the most popular image sharing social networks on the web, a lot of photographers (both novice and pro) find Flickr very handy for their needs. Why is that so?
To start off, Flickr users can upload and store their photos on the platform and share these to their friends and family. This is made possible by tagging other site members or by embedding the photos online. Views can also be set to private or public based on the user’s preference.
Flickr is also a video hosting service since it began offering this to paid members on April 2008. At first, only paid subscribers could upload videos of up to 90 seconds long and 150 MB in size.
The following year on March 2009, they allowed the uploading and viewing of HD videos and also provided the service to non-paying members but with a limitation in uploading normal resolution videos only.
The Flickr team has described this as a platform where users can:
- Organize photos in their own style
- Share their photos with friends and family privately or publicly
- Create a group for special occasions such as reunions, weddings and others
- Research for unique and awesome images
- Connect with like-minded individuals who value great photography
What’s the history of Flickr?
A husband and wife team founded the service only as a feature of Game Neverending and it was not until sometime later that Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield recognized that Flickr was a more feasible project with much greater potential.
One of the early versions of Flickr was a chat room named FlickrLive that lets users exchange photos in real-time. It was subsequently dropped as Flickr evolved away from the code base of Game Neverending.
Yahoo acquisition – was it a good move?
Due to the service’s promising features and growing user base, many tech giants including Google courted it for an acquisition but the founders sold out to Yahoo in March 2005. After the acquisition of a reported $35 million, all content on Flickr was migrated to servers in the United States from Canada (where it was originally based).
A lot of users were expectant that the acquisition would not affect the wonderful features of Flickr but on March 2007, Yahoo required everyone including “Old Skool” members – previous members before the acquisition – to use a Yahoo ID in order to access their accounts. This was a big mistake as loyal Flickr members started to get discouraged with the service.
A partnership with Getty Images allowed several members to submit photos for usage in stock photography with a corresponding payment. But in 2010, users were allowed to label images by themselves if it’s for stock purpose or for other uses.
In an effort to keep up with the latest trends, Flickr redesigned their layout with added features which included one terabyte of storage for all users for free.
It also unveiled a cover photo feature, seamless photo stream and an updated app for Android users. But despite these improvements, a lot of members criticized these changes with the forum receiving thousands of negative comments.
As of March 2013, a total of 87 million registered members and over 3.5 million new photos are uploaded on Flickr everyday as reported by The Verge. This number continues to grow as it hosts more than 6 billion images based on reported sources.
Mobile users can choose their preferred operating system including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and PlayStation Vita.
What makes it cool?
Despite the criticisms, many continue to use the service because of its seamless functionalities. You need not register to download photos and you can select a number of sizes from their menu. But for those who want to upload content, you need to have an account first. Registered members have the privilege to create a profile page and can add another user as a contact.
A lot of users also find it to be a vibrant community of creative individuals thus it’s not just a repository of images but a virtual world where discovering, sharing and exploring is made possible for everyone.
If you are a photography buff you can make great use of flicker to enjoying viewing or even storing and displaying your work. You can also make use of the social networking features of this site by connecting to other users who share your interests.
You can find Flickr on the web at http://flickr.com