Tag: flickr

Death Becomes Flickr

I just finished reading this fantastic article on Gizmodo lamenting Yahoo’s ignorance and immense missteps in how it mis-handled Flickr (I think I’m being generous here). And the article just made me so sad.

Between 2003 and 2010, Yahoo basically demolished Flickr, along with Delicious – two groundbreaking services. But we all know that. What this article did for me was put it all out there in all of it’s gory detail. It was like reading Bill Simmons’ pice about the Los Angeles Clippers of a few years ago. Once you are done with the article, you sit back and say “How the fuck could these people be some utterly inept?”.

It’s hard to remember, but back in 2005, Yahoo seemed like it had its game on. After losing out on search dominance to Google, it snapped up a bunch of small-but-cool socially oriented companies like Flickr (social photos), Delicious (social bookmarking), and Upcoming (social calendaring). There was a real sense that Yahoo was doing the right thing. It was, to some extent, out in front of what would come to be widely known as Web 2.0: the participatory Internet.

The funny thing is that in reading this article about how Yahoo focused on integrating Flickr into the Yahoo “ecosystem”, I said “Oh, that is what Lycos was so focused on when they acquired companies when I was there.” Where is Lycos these days?

I could go on about how Yahoo crushed the lively community within Flickr, how they still have yet to get it right with mobile, and some other amazing oversights, but just read the article. But there are two paragraphs that hit home for me and pretty much justified my decision to walk away from Flickr this year.

Illustrating just how bad the Flickr mobile effort was:

Among other problems, it wouldn’t let you upload several photos at once, you had to go in manually submit them one at a time. It was downscaling photos to 450 x 600, murdering image quality. Users had to log in via Safari rather than in the app itself. It was striping EXIF data from photos as they uploaded precisely the kind of thing Flickr’s photo nerds wanted to see.

Today, it all seems too late. The iPhone is the most popular camera on Flickr, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Flickr isn’t even among the top 50 free photography apps in iTunes. It’s just below an Instagram clone in 64th place. By way of comparison, an app that adds cats with laser eyes to your photos is 23rd.

And illustrating how the once vibrant community within Flickr has fled to Instagram, 500px, Facebook and others, while at the same time describing in exact detail how I currently utilize Flickr:

As a result, Flickr today is a very different site than it was five years ago. It’s an Internet backwater. It’s not socially appealing.

Recently, Flickr rolled out a “Justified” view, a way to scan your friends’ recent photos where they are all placed together like puzzle pieces. It’s similar to the way Pinterest lays out images. It’s a dramatic, gorgeous way to look at photos—that mostly highlights how rarely many people update now.

As I scroll down I note that friend after friend has quit posting. At the bottom of the page I am already back in mid 2010. So many of my friends have vanished. It feels like MySpace, circa 2009.

This is anecdotal, sure, but I follow many of these same people on other networks (Path, Facebook, Instagram) where they tend to be very active. I see photos of the same people, with their same children and their same dogs—all looking a year or two older than on Flickr.

This justified view also serves to highlight just how many of my friends’ photos are formatted in perfect squares ‘the tell-tale sign of an Instagram snap that’s been exported. Many of my contacts’ entire photostreams are made up of Instagram photos. In other words they are mere duplicate streams with fewer comments and activity of content that exists in primary form elsewhere. The only reason they are active on Flickr at all is because they automatically export there.

The leadership of Yahoo should be fired. Oh wait. They have been. And again. And again. And again.

Color Photos From 1930s-1940s

[Sylvia Sweets Tea Room, corner of School and Main streets, Brockton, Mass.] (LOC)The corner of School St. and Main St. in Brockton, MA in the 1930’s

A set of color photos from the 1930s and 1940s on Flickr from the Library of Congress. No, the above photo is not from Instagram or Picplz. :)

Here is a view from “today” of the same corner as above at School and Main Streets in Brockton, MA

Missing The Photo Op

Very interesting article in the NY Times about Flickr and the swirling rumors about its demise, which from their POV, have been grossly exaggerated. What is crystal clear from the article is that Yahoo severely under-invested in this great service:

“We just missed some opportunities that we could have tried if we were independent and raised our own money,” Stuart Butterfield [a co-founder] said. “Who knows what would have happened?”Giving more visibility to photos of breaking news events, like riots in Paris or minor car crashes, was one idea that never got off the ground. International expansion could also have happened more quickly, Mr. Butterfield said.

At least Yahoo had the decency to shut down its Yahoo Photos property in favor of Flickr, which is not something they can say about Delicious

Article via NYTimes.com
Image via The Oatmeal

Yahoo To Shut Down Delicious

I can’t tell you how upset this makes me. Delicious has been my go to site for years, since it first was released, to find great links and information, as well as to keep track of links that are important to me or need to get back to later on. I have been a loyal user of the service for years. It has been my database of links in the cloud…when I needed to find that demo on a random blog for JQuery scripts, or a tutorial on how to use CSS. Hell, I taught myself HTML, CSS, and to a lesser degree, PHP, using sites I had bookmarked on Delicious. I could not have done that without Delicious. There is no way. With Delicious, if I stumbled on a site but didn’t have the time to go deep (which happened more times than not), I could save it and get back to it. Otherwise, I would have been searching all over the place. In many ways for me, Delicious was the precursor to Instapaper and Evernote.

From Andy Baio:

Just leaked: Yahoo! is closing or merging Del.icio.us, Upcoming, Fire Eagle, MyBlogLog, and many more. http://yfrog.com/h3z89p
12.16.2010 via @waxpancake

As John Gruber just said, it was only a few short years ago when Yahoo was the place to go for start ups such as Upcoming, Delicious, and Flickr to name a few. And with Tomas Hawk’s recent flame of Yahoo!’s Carol Bartz, where he begs and pleads for her to put some attention into sites like Flickr, you have to really be concerned that some of the most iconic properties on the internet, Yahoo included, are on the chopping block or at least life support.

But it goes beyond this. When Delicious launched, they brought to the masses one of the most significant and innovative elements of the web – they readily and in a dead simple way, enabled users to use “tags” to describe the links they saved. The implications of this were staggering. And what was more, they did so in a semantic manner. If you used Delicious twice or more, you pretty easily figured out that if you typed delicious / tag / [any word here] into your browser, you would get all the links relative to that keyword or tag. That combination was a game changer in my mind. Others may have done bits and pieces of that, but Delicious pulled it all together.

RIP Delicious. I am pissed. I think Yahoo may have just lost me for good. This is a sad, sad day.

You can click here to Export your years and years of links up at Delicious. Thankfully they are an open platform and freely let you export your data.

Social Media Stats

A compilation of social media statistics and sound bytes from across the Internet.

  • Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users on global basis.Six months ago, this was 250m. This means over 40% growth in less than 6 months.
  • Flickr now hosts more than 4 billion images.
  • More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day.
  • Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it’s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.
  • Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100%. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month.
  • Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.
  • Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase.
  • There are more than 3.5bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.

Updated Hack: Send to Flickr via Picasa

I, like many folks, am a regular user of Google’s Picasa. I am also an avid fan of Yahoo’s Flickr. And being that both of the parent companies of these two fine services are locked in a steel-cage death match for worldwide Internet dominance, I am not going to hold my breath for a plug-in that will enable me to easily upload photos from Picasa to Flickr.

In searching for a straight forward work around to more easily upload photos from Picasa to Flickr when a) I just want to share and b) am not too concerned about photo quality, I found a python script via Lifehacker, which is way too much advanced coding for me to deal with, and a work around where I can email photos to Flickr via Gmail (emailing photos is a default option in Picasa), a seemingly far easier option. In reading the email option article, I went and tried out this option with great success (more details on Flickr’s email uploading functionality can be found here, here and here). It seemed far easier than dealing with Python code. I think it degrades the quality of the photo slightly, but for purely sharing purposes, it does the trick.

I also saw a couple of things that I’d like to humbly add on to this article:

  1. Brilliantly, Flickr has now enabled you to tag photos that you upload via email. Simply include the syntax in your subject line or body: tag: tag_1 tag_2 tag_n and automagically, your photos will be uploaded and tagged on Flickr. Slick, very slick.
  2. By default, the Picasa/Gmail email solution reduces the photo sizes to 480 px wide. To upload photos to Flickr as close to the original size of your digital photo, fire up Picasa, go to Tools > Options > Email and where it says “When sending more than one photo, resize to:” select 1024 px. You will still see a slight dip in photo quality when your photo is uploaded to Flickr, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. The photo won’t be the original size but you really don’t need massive 6 megapixel photos sitting up on an online photo sharing service anyway, unless you are a pro or semi-pro photographer.
  3. Finally, now that you can effectively use Gmail to upload photos to Flickr, a minor issue arises in that you can rapidly use up lots of disc space sending these big files via Gmail. Now, Gmail does have endless disc space, but for those that are find it important not to waste useful disc space, here is a little add on pointer: Set up a filter in Gmail, where all emails sent To your personal Flickr email are automatically Deleted. Simply go through the Gmail Filter wizard, putting your Flickr upload email into the “To” field, and then select “Delete It”. From there, every time you send a bunch of photos to Flickr via Gmail, the “sent” email is automatically routed to the Delete tag in Gmail. All the information contained within the email is brilliantly copied and integrated into your Flickr account, so there is no need to keep those emails. Next time you clear out your old emails, those memory hogging emails to Flickr are quickly and painlessly deleted as well.

So those are my few additions to the articles I found on hacking Picasa and Flickr with Gmail. It’s not the prettiest solution in the world, but for a quick and easy way to get photos from Picasa to Flickr, it’s pretty hard to beat.

Flickr Album Maker

Found this out on delicious. Its an amazing Flickr Album Maker that generates either a photo album/gallery or a slideshow simply by putting in different paramaters from your Flickr account. The super cool thing is that you can select photos that have multiple tags (steve AND/OR ond05). This is something I’ve been looking for to manage the multitude of photos on my Kids’ site. I guess the only downfall is that it does not automatically update when I post photos to Flickr since the HTML is static. Need to look into this.

The Brilliance of Flickr

I don’t know how else to put it. Flickr is just a brilliant application. The reason for its brilliance is how easy it is for anyone to tap into its API in order to create new, innovative, and just amazing “add on” applications and features. Similar to how Google Maps has spawned combination applications like Housing Maps which combines Google Maps and CraigsList Real Estate listings, Flickr is spawning an entire sub-set of amazing photo sharing applications and features. Here are several that I have come across:

Flickr Album
Flickr Tag Browser
Spell With Flickr
Flickr Magazine Cover
Flickr Photos on Black Background
Flickr Badge Maker
Flickr Screen Saver
Create A Photobook of Your Flickr Photos

And here is a list of many more such extensions of the Flickr application

I know there are many, many other such applications out there and I am sure I will add to this list in time. To think that I spent hours upon hours building my children’s web site and managing all the photos on that site. If Flickr could only have been around 3-4 years ago, I would have saved a boatload of time, energy, and headaches. At least I was able to teach myself how to build a web site out of the experience!