Flickr Updates App, Part Of Yahoo's Revamp Strategy

by , Dec 12, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Smartphone-Flickr-BA day after unveiling an upgrade to Yahoo Mail, Yahoo on Wednesday released an updated version of its Flickr iPhone app aimed at restoring its place in the photo-sharing space now dominated by properties like Instagram and Facebook.

The redesigned Flickr app for iPhone is intended to make it easier for new users to sign up, streamline photo browsing, improve discovery, and offer a wide range of camera filters. The refresh underscores CEO Marissa Mayer’s goal of making mobile a central part of Yahoo’s strategy.

A pioneer in online photo-sharing, Flickr fell behind in recent years as that activity shifted to social networking sites -- especially Facebook -- that made it easy to upload and share pictures with friends. The subsequent rise of photo apps such as Instagram, offering features like retro filters, capitalized on the proliferation of smartphones with high-quality cameras.

Now Flickr is counting on mobile to regain some of its lost cachet through the new iPhone, with updated releases coming for Android, as well as for tablets. The photo feud that has broken out between Instagram and Twitter could provide an opportunity for Flickr to get back in the game.

“We built the app with sharing in mind -- whether by email, with the Flickr community, or your favorite social network. We’ve worked hard with our partners to make sure your pictures are displayed beautifully on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr,” noted Brett Wayn, VP, Flickr, in a blog post today.

The statement seems a not-so-subtle reference to Instagram’s step last week to block images from being shared directly on Twitter. The micro-blogging service struck back on Monday by introducing Instagram-like photo filters that include black-and-white and a vintage look.

The new Flickr app has earned a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars in the App Store so far. That is based on feedback from just 20 users, but the rating is consistent with the score for all versions of the app, based on 26,616 ratings to date.

Beyond the app, Flickr.com also has gotten a facelift. It includes redesigned navigation and an update to a new “Explore” page to display more photos. With 85 million active users, Flickr may have lost mindshare -- but it was hardly forgotten. Markus Spiering, head of the Flickr product at Yahoo, told CNet that people are also spending more time on the site since the upgrade. 

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