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February 12 2014

A Look Back at Flickr's First 10 Years
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Facebook isn't the only Silicon Valley tech company celebrating its 10th anniversary this month

Flickr, the photo-hosting platform owned by Yahoo, turned 10 years old on Monday, a significant accomplishment in the ever-changing world of consumer tech

In many ways, Flickr was ahead of the game: It focused on user photos before most Americans started carrying around high-quality cameras everywhere they went, and it offered free cloud storage before services such as Dropbox, Box and Google Docs were even invented. Flickr users upload a million photos each day, and over the past year, the service has been busy adding more features, including larger storage, filters and photo books Read more...

More about Yahoo, Photos, Flickr, Tech, and Apps Software

January 11 2014

17 Frozen Sculptures That Are Too Hot to Handle
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With harsh temperatures and extreme weather bearing down on most of the country this winter, it can be hard to appreciate the beauty of the season. It is all too often that we forget that winter can actually be a wonderland.

The cold and snow bring many opportunities for people to gather for festivals (or just their own frigid fun) to create gorgeous works of art.

Take a look at some of these incredible and icy pieces from around the globe.



Image: ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
Read more...

More about List, Pics, Lists, Photos, and Flickr

December 17 2013

Lego Rivendell Is 'LOTR' Fantasy Land Made From 200K Bricks
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Seventy-six years after J.R.R. Tolkien first began to imagine the Elven outpost of Rivendell for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lego enthusiasts Alice Finch and David Frank decided to build their own version using only toy bricks as their medium

The duo used 200,000 tiny bricks to create a spectacular model of Rivendell, scaled down to fit a kingdom of Elven minifigures.

LEGO rivendell 1Image: Flickr, Alice Finch

Frank and Finch told Mashable that they planned to build Rivendell after meeting for the first time at a Seattle Lego users group meeting in 2011. Read more...

More about Pics, Flickr, Lego, The Lord Of The Rings, and Film

December 12 2013

Flickr Crashes Following Massive Yahoo Mail Outage
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On the heels of a massive outage that has left some Yahoo Mail users without email access since Monday, Yahoo's photo-sharing platform Flickr temporarily crashed.

Many Flickr users were unable to access the site for nearly two hours on Thursday, starting at about 11 a.m. ET, but it was inaccessible to everyone worldwide for 10 minutes.

Flickr's signature "Bad Panda" error message (see below) appeared for some, while others were told it couldn't load due to "inactivity timeout."

Flickr Panda

"Flickr was unavailable for a very short amount of time and this issue has been resolved. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused," a Yahoo spokesperson told Mashable. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Email, Apps, and Flickr

December 04 2013

This Technology Tags Your Photos Based on Relationships
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Since 2010, Facebook has used facial recognition software to automatically tag your friends in photos. Now one researcher has come up with an algorithm that tags photos based on the relationships that people in images already have with each other.

The algorithm uses the name and location of existing photo tags to build a "relationship graph," where personal connections in the images are calculated. That makes it faster and more efficient at tagging pictures compared to what's currently used by sites such as Facebook and Flickr

For example, if a father and daughter appear in tagged images consistently, untagged photos featuring them can be tagged automatically. If the daughter is in an image with both of her parents, but the father is untagged, the algorithm is able to recognize him based on their other images together. Read more...

More about Facebook, Photo, Flickr, Photographs, and Patent

November 19 2013

Flickr Develops Photo Books; Coffee Tables, Beware

Some veteran Flickr users are calling for a rollback to the photo site's design days of yore, and the service has indeed offered up something suitable for the nostalgic—just maybe not what its critics wanted. What Flickr has rolled out are Photo Books, big glossy printed albums of, you guessed it, your Flickr photos.

Head of product Markus Spiering admits that Photo Books are a “very, very different approach” for Flickr, though he defends their appeal for casual users (think family photo albums) and pro users (think photo portfolios) alike. Either way, creating a Photo Book is dead simple and live on the site now.

Flickr’s built-in tools, accurately described as "light editing controls" pull out related colors that complement your image's palette, auto detect faces for the purpose of centering a print and can pull automatically from users' existing sets, creating an insta-portfolio, if you're not the editing sort. According to Flickr's press release:

Pick your favorite photo set, click on the Photo Book icon, and we’ll automatically turn it into a beautiful book for you. In almost no time, you can turn your photos into something memorable, that we’ll send it right to your doorstep (or to a lucky friend or family member.)
Our focus with Flickr Photo Books is to make it simple and intuitive to create a book that always looks great and is beautifully finished. From the handpicked full-bleed layouts, to the heavy stock photo Lustre paper and the image-based cover with matching dust jacket, we know you’re going to love your books. 

To its credit, Flickr’s emphasis on quality prints should offset some suspicion around the new product’s ease of use and casual appeal. (Why is it that a contingent of users gets up in arms any time a product becomes easier to use—ahem, better designed—anyway?)

Flickr Photo Books will start at $34.95 for 20 photos in glorious full resolution, and each additional page is 50 cents from there, up to a ceiling of 240 pages for $154.95. Photo Books print and ship within 5 to 7 business days, just in time for that oh-so-thoughtful last minute gift or impromptu impressive photo portfolio, ideally. Each page of a Photo Book sticks to one photo (no tacky iPhoto-esque collages here) and presents it on high quality lustre paper, with a full-color glossy photo printed over the cover and binding with a dust jacket to match.

Of course, the concept of big, printed books chock full of your memories has been around for a while now. Companies like Blurb and Snapfish have been at this for years. In fact, Flickr users could print their own pics previously through a partnership with Snapfish, and even pick them up at friendly neighborhood locations like Walgreens, Staples and Target. On Snapfish, a comparable 8" x 11" photo book with a “custom cover” is $29.99, though we’d put more stock in Flickr’s in-house eye for a high quality print. Blurb, another competitor, makes handsome 8" x 11" photo books for $31.99.

Photo books aren't exactly innovative, but they are something, even if that something is just cutting out the middleman to give casual photographers a one-step way to print a holiday album for grandma and grandpa. And for a stagnating service that hadn't made a pre-Yahoo peep in ages, any news is good news as far as I'm concerned.

Flickr users eager to see how the company’s recent technology acquisitions will integrate into the UI they know and love (or love to fake-hate) so well will have to hang in there a little while longer.

In the mean time, enjoy your new coffee table book.

Tags: Flickr

November 14 2013

What Makes Flickr Tick—A Q&A With Product Head Markus Spiering

Flickr, long held back by Yahoo’s numerous identity and leadership crises, suddenly has a strong purple tailwind. The bustling photo sharing hub, co-founded by serial entrepreneur Caterina Fake in 2004 and absorbed into the big Y! in 2005, has weathered more than a few Yahoo ice ages. Now, with mover/shaker Marissa Mayer steering the good ship Yahoo, Flickr is getting the love its dedicated users knew it deserved all along. And they've certainly been patient.

I sat down with Flickr’s head of product, Markus Spiering to talk about the new Flickr—the one that just woke up from a long slumber, that is. Spiering doesn’t just lead Flickr’s design evolution from his lofty post atop the product—he’s actually a Nikon-toting photographer and a longtime Flickr superfan. (He even wrote a book about Flickr in 2006, but since it’s in German, we’ll have to take his word that it’s good.)

See also: Flickr Gets A Makeover—It's Been Supersized And Instagrammed

Under Spiering's leadership, Flickr exploded onto mobile, blew the top off its data upload ceiling (each user gets a free terabyte) and invaded Yahoo's other products, from visually powering the Yahoo Weather app's local forecasts to livening up Yahoo Mail with Flickr-generated themes.

There are a lot of different ways to use Flickr. Stuff photos into it, and it's a functional image shoebox. Curate your photos into sets and collections, and it becomes a gallery. Join communities and suddenly it's a photography classroom—and a good one, at that. 

Why Users Love Flickr

ReadWrite: Flickr is a great place to learn. Did you all intend for it to be such a powerful educational tool for aspiring photographers?

Markus Spiering: Seeing how other people take photos with display of the EXIF data, the shutter speed, what kind of lens they have used, what kind of cameras they have used... that's the pure representation of data. The other thing, which I think is almost more helpful, is the feedback you get from people. I think a lot is the learning process, through feedback [from] people you actually do not know, but they help you to be a better photographer.

RW: Even in the days of Yahoo as a running joke, people still had a really positive opinion of Flickr. Its users just really love it in a way that's rare for a product, especially a social one. How do you think that positivity has stayed alive?

MS: When we think about the product, we think about positiveness. We have no thumbs up or thumbs down, we have "faveing". We emphasize really positive actions. We try to use language within the product that is not sterile... it's welcoming, a little bit silly. I think this describes the positive attitude of Flickr and might be a reason why people love Flickr so much. Flickr feels like a friend that you like to go to.

RW: Many of us never thought we'd see another sign of life from Flickr. How did you keep the positivity going through the darker days? 

MS: It was always a priority for us to build a very positive, very community friendly and engaging product. You can have whatever direction, whatever leadership—but in the end it's us that build the product here.

I agree with you there have been tough times. And it's pretty incredible that we have opportunities now, ourselves, to acquire companies. 

Why Flickr Shares Nicely With Others

RW: In March, Flickr had 3.5 million new images uploaded each day. Do you think those are meaningful metrics or are people dumping photos from photography apps like Instagram into Flickr?

MS: I wouldn't say it's causing a major uptick. What we have seen throughout this year is actually very Flickr driven in terms of uploads coming from our apps and the desktop. However, we do get a lot of content from third party integrations. I think the most notable ones in terms of volume ... are iPhoto or Aperture or Lightroom. But if you look into percentages, the vast, vast majority is originating from our own [Flickr] clients.

RW: Do you see other social networks with photography tools as incompatible or competing with Flickr?

MS: It's one of the nice things that I love at Flickr. We actually can build experiences on third parties and we don't have to worry about competition in a sense. We are fully supporting Twitter cards and we have a really good relationship with Twitter.

[...]

The way we are thinking, for example, about sharing to Facebook: Sure you could share to Facebook in a way that would share a tiny thumbnail and then people would have to click on it and go to Flickr. [But that] is not really what the user wants. For the few times you share to Facebook you want to make sure that their photo is beautifully presented ... so we take the highest resolution that Facebook supports, which is 2048, and we upload that image to Facebook.

We deeply believe in not only the experience that you have on Flickr, but also [in building] a really great experience where people share.

 

RW: People have seen Flickr as sort of fighting against the big "Yahoo machine." How do you see Flickr fitting into Yahoo now?

MS: I think it fits very well. If you look at the highly successful Yahoo Weather app, it's powered by Flickr. If you look at the Mail experience, there's a big part of Flickr in it. There is Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr, which is another platform for creators and creative people. I feel like it had its challenges in the last couple of years. But I think especially now, [for] community and creators, Yahoo is in incredible support of them.

RW: There's a dialogue around "oh, Flickr should have been Instagram. It missed the boat on mobile and casual photography" and so on. Do you feel like that's a tension, or is Flickr still distinct in a meaningful way?

MS: I think at Flickr we can make that connection between a casual photographer and a community. Communities are not only about the most beautiful photos, but they're about relevance. At the same time, the public face of Flickr should be inspiring—an amazing pool of creative sources and people. 

If you consume photos, we want to get you to the next image. We want you to be fully immersed in the beautiful content [that we have]. And the more photos that you see, the more likely it is that you'll want to engage, that you'll follow other people, that you'll comment.

Flickr should not be anything else. Flickr is Flickr.

Lead image via Shutterstock.com. Other images via, respectively, Flickr users Zanastardust, Sister72 and poolie, CC 2.0

Tags: Flickr

November 02 2013

Photobucket Rises Again, Tops Flickr With 26 Million Users
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Back in May, at a news conference in New York, Yahoo unveiled a revamped version of Flickr that gave users 1 TB of free storage and allowed them to upload full-resolution photos. “The look and feel here is about photos and being unbounded,” Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer said at the time. “Photos make the world go round. We want to make Flickr awesome again.”

Early reviews were largely positive. David Pogue (then of the New York Times, now of Yahoo), called the new Flickr a “gigantic improvement” and raved about the “insane, historic, vast amount of space.”

But six months later, awesomeness has proven elusive. According to ComScore data, in May 2013, at the time of Mayer’s news conference, Flickr had 27.3 million multiplatform monthly unique users in the U.S. By September, those numbers had dipped slightly to 26.2 million. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Photobucket, Flickr, Photo Sharing, and Justin Timberlake

October 23 2013

Yahoo Acquires LookFlow to Improve Flickr Discovery
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Yahoo has acquired LookFlow, a startup that develops image recognition technology, the two companies announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed

LookFlow, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., announced on its website that the team would be joining Yahoo to work on the Flickr team

"Flickr is the largest collection of images we love. They share our passion for creating phenomenal experiences & technology to help you discover those images," the company said. "We couldn't be more excited."

Yahoo confirmed the acquisition in a statement to Mashable: "We have acquired LookFlow, an enhanced image recognition company. As part of the acquisition, we’re bringing five talented engineers and the technology they built into our Flickr organization in San Francisco." Read more...

More about Yahoo, Flickr, Startups, Marissa Mayer, and Business

October 03 2013

Facebook Home Opens Up to Instagram, Pinterest Content
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As promised, Facebook is adding new content to its Facebook Home lock screen. This news, announced Thursday, means that Facebook Home for Android beta testers can now access Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr and Tumblr content without having to unlock their phones

Users will be able to Like and view posts from these other services, but it isn't clear what other apps (like Twitter) may be available to Home users in the future

The news comes just a few weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg openly discussed the soon-to-be released update at TechCrunch's Disrupt event in San Francisco. Facebook Home, the software that lets Android users bring Facebook updates and content directly to their lock screen, was released in April and has since been deemed a relative misstep in Facebook's revitalized mobile strategy Read more...

More about Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest

September 06 2013

How to Compress Your iPhone Photos
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When preparing to upgrade to a new phone or tablet, you might have some housecleaning to do. How do you go about saving the data and memories from a device you've operated for months or years?

If you choose to save your iPhone photos to the cloud, you have several optionsiCloud is a great plan, but it only offers 5GB of free cloud storage. If you're like me, your phone contains 14.2 GB of photos and video (some photos are between 2 and 3MB each — so iCloud won't cover all of your data. You may prefer Dropbox, but again, the service only offers an initial 2GB of free space before you need to pay for upgrades. You might even consider Evernote, but it's not the greatest choice for bulk uploads and it only offers 60MB of free storage per month Read more...

More about Apps, Iphone, How To, Flickr, and Photography

August 22 2013

Revolution in Egypt Captured Through the Eye of a Camera
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When the spirit of revolution swept across Egypt in 2011, an amateur photographer put aside his studies and headed to Tahrir Square, camera in hand. It was the beginning of big changes both for his career and his country.

Mosa'ab Elshamy, now 23, bore witness to ongoing strife punctuated by the rise and fall of Egypt's first democratically elected president. Through photography (Elshamy currents uses a Canon EOS 60D), he documented this period in his country's history with stunning consistency and emotional depth.

"I feel it has added a lot more to me as a human; it makes you understand people quite a lot more," Elshamy told Mashable during a Skype interview. "Significant events which really should never be taken lightly — a person getting killed by another person — become very personal." Read more...

More about Twitter, Social Media, Flickr, Photography, and Revolution

August 07 2013

Yahoo Hires Former Google Exec to Run Flickr
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Marissa Mayer has said she wants to make Flickr "awesome again," and now she is bringing on an exec from Google to help do so.

Yahoo hired former Google exec Bernardo Hernandez to take over as the head of Flickr. Hernandez joined Google in 2005 and held several marketing positions before taking over as the head of Zagat, which Google acquired in late 2011

Hernandez announced his move to Yahoo in a post on Twitter:

I am very happy to say that as of tomorrow I will be leading Flickr efforts at Yahoo. Amazing beautiful challengehttp://t.co/EhJbHIaxxH

— Bernardo Hernandez (@BernieHernie) August 6, 2013 Read more...

More about Yahoo, Flickr, Marissa Mayer, and Business

June 16 2013

May 20 2013

Flickr Gets A Makeover — It's Been Supersized And Instagrammed

It wasn’t that long ago that Yahoo stood accused of letting Flickr decay beyond repair. 

Today, under the guidance of new CEO Marissa Mayer, the company has given the oft maligned image-sharing community a major facelift. Yahoo’s announcement promises a Flickr that’s “more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the grid. Here’s what’s new on your Flickr account:

Room To Grow

As recently as yesterday, free Flickr users could upload and display 200 images at a time. Now every user has one terabyte of storage space. For those of you playing along at home, that’s enough for roughly 200,000 photos. Or as the Flickr staff puts it even more dramatically, “you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.”

Following Flickr’s consistently freemium model, you can get even more perks by going pro. Fifty dollars will remove all advertisements. And for the serious professional, $499.99 will double your storage space to two terabytes per year. Or, you know, more than 400,000 photos. 

If you already had an original Flickr Pro account, priced at $24.95, you’re getting a heck of a deal. Yahoo has upgraded you to the $49.99 option until August 2013, free of charge. Pro user Aaron Brazell sent us a screenshot of his pro account, pictured below:

Introducing The Grid

The most instantly noticeable change is an aesthetic one. Your photos have enlarged themselves to jaw dropping size and now dominate the screen. Taking a cue from Instagram, your home page is now an infinite scroll through your contacts’ recent photos.

Your profile page has also gone the way of Pinterest and Windows 8, filling the page with a grid of images. Just like Facebook and Twitter, your profile page includes a background photo to offset your profile picture. 

I found that Flickr had already put one of my Favorites as my background image, a photo I didn’t even take myself. As it’s not credited, I certainly hope the photographer doesn’t take issue.

Wait, What’s Going On?

A lot here has changed and Flickr power users are still trying to figure out what’s new. Flickr’s most active discussion forum, Flickr Central, is abuzz with comments about the change. Given that these are the people that continued to daily use Flickr even as the rest of the Internet complained it was dead, it’s no surprise they’re unhappy with the change.

“I signed on Flickr to post a story about Yahoo vowing not to screw up Tumblr … and then I see the clusterfuck that is the new homepage,” one user wrote

Meanwhile, confusion abounds at Flickr’s official Help Forum. I’d be amazed if the staff can answer all 1,100 plus questions that were added in the last hour. It looks like Yahoo might want to update Flickr’s FAQ guidelines, which still link to old news like the ability to pay $24.95 for a pro subscription.

If you're confused, don't add to the backlog. I have reached out to Yahoo for details on when the new FAQ will be up and will update when we know more. 

Tags: Flickr

August 23 2012

LG Starts Production of Rumored iPhone Screens and Two Other Stories You Need to Know


Social Media NewsWelcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. Today, we’re looking at three particularly interesting stories.

LG Starts Production of New Smartphone Screens, Rumored to be Used in Apple's iPhone

LG kicked off production of new, thinner smartphone screens, which are speculated to be part of Apple's next-generation iPhone.

"We just began mass production and we don't expect any disruption in supplies," said Han Sang-beom, chief executive of LG Display.

Reports are swirling around Apple's upcoming iPhone, likely to be announced on Sept. 12, though nothing has been confirmed yet. But…
Continue reading...

More About: Facebook, LG, apple, features, first to know series, flickr, iphone, mashable


August 21 2012

Love Your Vespa? Now You Can Do It Officially on Social Media


vespa-vita-640

Vespa is the kind of brand that other brands want to be. The name is so well-known that many people simply think the entire category of cute, unibody scooters are called "Vespas." Not only that, but the people who own them tend to like them. A lot.

The company that owns the Vespa brand, Piaggio, wants to hear from those people. Today, its Vespa USA division is launching a three-pronged social-media campaign, asking Vespa owners to share their photos or stories about "La Vespa Vita" (the Vespa Life), which will live at a "community-powered" site.

The easiest way to contribute is to submit Vespa-themed photos. Any pics submitted to Instagram or Flickr with the tag #VespaVita will ge…
Continue reading...

More About: Twitter, flickr, instagram, scooter, scooters, transportation, vespa


August 12 2012

February 09 2012

17 Most-Popular Photos From Flickr Commons


Female Aircraft Worker




"Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies."

Image courtesy of The Library of Congress, Flickr.

Click here to view this gallery.

Flickr Commons, a collaboration between the photo-sharing site and the Library of Congress that began in 2008, has released 17 of its most-popular photos to celebrate its fourth anniversary.

The project began as an effort to increase exposure to some of the world’s historic photographic treasures and to crowdsource public knowledge about the archives. The Commons has a “no known copyright restriction” policy, which means the Internet community’s use of the Commons’ images is not limited. Typically, items uploaded to Flickr are the property of their owners.

“The Commons have really showed institutions the benefits of sharing their photos archives,” Fiona Miller, product marketing manager at Flickr told Mashable. “This has really played a big part for institutions, who typically have had a closed approach to their content, because they want to keep their content within the boundaries of their four walls. The wealth of knowledge they get back from sharing that content is really incredible.”

Initially, the Commons included 1,500 images from the Library of Congress. Today, the Commons now includes more than 56 institutions in 12 countries and features more than 200,000 photos.

The Flickr community has deeply engaged with the Commons since its launch: 127 million views, 7 million favorited images and 130 million member comments.

Probably the most interesting of those stats are the comments, which have often lent historical context not previously known by their home institutions’ records. The Library of Congress, as well as other institutions, have used the Flickr community to learn about mystery photos, such as identifying orphans who survived the Titanic and modern-day locations of buildings.

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways Museums Are Reaching Digital Audiences

One of the photos in the gallery above, NASA‘s “Blue Marble” image of the Earth, became one of Flickr’s most popular images in less than two weeks, receiving more than 3.5 million views in less than two weeks.

Where do you see the future of digital archiving going with projects like the Flickr Commons? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: flickr, photo sharing, the commons

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January 27 2012

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