Tech blogs are buzzing today about one of the biggest things to hit photo-sharing mega-service Flickr: an impending redesign. BetaBeat is reporting that the site’s new head of product, Markus Spiering, is set to unveil some good and much-needed changes. After being nearly a year on the job as Flickr’s head, it’s being said that next week, we will probably see some remarkable things–the first of which is a new design for the photo view with enlarged images and a less than traditional structure. What other changes lie in store for the once-proud photo giant? Who knows…we must wait and see.
But these changes are indeed coming, says Mr. Spiering. It’s easier to say that change is coming but it will be a tough sell for the skeptics. Photographers like Thomas Hawk have, for the longest time, complained about the apparent disrespect the service’s parent company,Yahoo, is giving. And when people look at the amount of photos being shared on Facebook, 500px, and Google+, is it any shock that photographers are ripping on Yahoo with reckless abandon, with some actually deleting their accounts and moving exclusively to other services? Flickr might be trying to convince others that they’re listening, but first they’ll need to convince themselves. They’re honestly haven’t been doing a great job either, with accounts accidentally being deleted and then shutting down services like Snapjoy in order to prevent people from exporting their own photos. Call it self-preservation or whatever, but there’s definitely mixed feelings on whether Yahoo is interested in it or it’ll just be yet another sunset service in their portfolio.
It might surprise you to hear that Yahoo hasn’t forgotten about Flickr–well that’s what Mr. Spiering says. He continues by saying that since its purchase in 2005, the search engine has continuously made improvements to the site. Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable change was two years ago when the photo page was redesigned and then Flickr’s service was looped in through the rest of Yahoo’s products. Now, this new update, set to happen in about a week, will mark the beginning of a new renaissance for Flickr and get people talking about it again…or so people hope.
Famed photographer, Thomas Hawk, has published a post about his thoughts relating to Flickr’s new redesigns. In it, he says that while he hasn’t played around with it, he still feels that he’s liking what he’s seeing on this screenshot.
The new design looks much more interactive with a focus on larger photos, hover over pop out magnification, and a jigsaw sort of layout that allows the photos on the page to take the maximum space possible with very little white space. It looks quite a bit more like what Google+’s photo pages look like actually and feels like a much more elegant design. Now how cool would it be if this new page also had infinite scrolling as well.
And while everyone is probably raving about how good the redesign will be, one thing that folks like CrunchFund’s MG Seigler is talking about is the lack of a mobile presence. Coming from a mobile background, Flickr’s head of product has yet to make any mention about Flickr’s attempt to enter the foray of mobile photo-sharing and whether there’s going to be an attempt to take on services like Instagram, Hipster, PicPlz, Path, and more. Yahoo apparently has a “mobile first” strategy in place and it’s being shared with Flickr, but one thing still remains – where is the plan? Flickr’s API is one of the most popular public APIs available on the Internet. With more than 3.5 million photos uploaded each day, you would think that there was some way to increase that level using not only the desktop application or Internet, but also a mobile application as well.
Right now, Flickr’s management is taking a good step forward into helping to change the way people think about their service. However, lots of people are not expecting a miracle redesign or revolution this year–Flickr will need to do way more to cause people not to second guess its intentions. As most of the photography blogs are saying, this first attempt has an aura of being a little bit like Google+. Flickr shouldn’t be copying Google+, it should be surpassing them. But as BetaBeat says, this could be a first major sign of an attitude adjustment sorely needed within the service.
Photo Credit: Snap? photo by Andrew Rennie