As soon as Marissa Mayer was named Yahoo’s CEO, people were extremely loud about “saving” Flickr. What’s left of the passionate photo community have been waiting for innovation, something that they can get behind and feel good about when they’re spending their time using the site. Today, the company has released a completely overhauled version of Flickr for iOS, its first update since Dec 21, 2011. You read that right, the app hasn’t had an update since last December.
For some of us, we’ve moved on to other photo hosting and sharing services, and companies like Facebook and Google have taken a major bite out of Flickr’s powerful photographic stronghold. I’ve personally let my Flickr Pro account lapse, because there just wasn’t enough value in continuing to go back to it.
The site itself felt outdated, the features just weren’t up to par with other services, and there was a bit of uneasiness on what the direction of Flickr was. The company hopes that this will change at least some of those fears. It makes sense, since the iPhone has been the most popular “camera” on Flickr for the past seven years.Flickr, the way it should be on mobile
The one thing that’s quite obvious with Flickr’s iOS overhaul, as well as the web updates that were pushed today, the company is going for consistency, everywhere. When users are on a mobile device, they should have a comfortable and familiar experience similar to what they’ve experienced on the web, and vice versa. To date, Flickr has simply not cashed in on that promise, but today’s update certainly pushes Yahoo in that direction. It was quite clear with Mail’s upgrade yesterday that this is an important mission for Yahoo!
Have a look at the before and after of Flickr for iOS (last year’s on the left):
Let’s be completely honest here, the app you see on the left, the one from last year, is a piece of crap. The entire community knew it once it launched, and since it was never updated after, some felt like they might never see a new version again. Yes, it was that bad. Slow, as well.
When I played with the new Flickr app on an iPhone 5 yesterday, it was ridiculously snappy, rendered photos quickly, and slid around navigation-wise with pin-point precision. This thing is well done. The photo size isn’t cropped, instead shrunk and displayed appropriately within all of the stream views. People took great care in building this, and the photo creators are honored and promoted all over the place, even in this video:
The photo editing, advanced and simple, are powered by Aviary, which will be familiar to current Flickr desktop users. It’s really easy to doctor up a photo, but I still feel that Snapseed has nailed the user experience for this.
The new interesting photos area rely on a slew of different algorithms, which are fascinating. More later, with a thorough walkthrough and interview with Flickr’s VP, Brett Wayn.
Will this be enough to keep the community happy, as well as bring new people into the mix? We will see.
Oh yeah…there are filters.