Top 10 Ways to Improve Flickr, Almost Certainly the Best Online Photo Management and Sharing Application in the World
1. Introduce full screen slide shows. There is nothing quite like the experience of sitting in your living room and watching beautiful photographs float across a 43” plasma. With a soundtrack to your life playing softly in the background, the kids playing on the floor and a nice glass of white burgundy, watching your photos float across the screen is the perfect compliment. As TiVo and Media Center turn your living rooms into virtual photography galleries, Flickr should develop full screen slide shows for users to watch their photostreams, their friends’ photostreams, and the photos you have selected as favorites.
Flickr should also create smart filters that randomly show photos from your contacts or specific lists of contacts that you can build for specific events. Imagine how cool it would be to (announced at upcoming.org or course) put together a flickr meet up at a venue with multiple plasmas. Then take the flickr RSVP list and run their photostreams through a filter and have that filter randomly show their work at the Flickr meetup. Talk about WOW factor.
As part of a full screen slideshow initiative Flickr should definitely build a Media Center plug in specifically. Media Center will hit mainstream adoption next year. Seeing your flickr stream and favorites in full screen mode on your Xbox 360 or Media Center PC would be white hot. In order to do this in a cost efficient way, Flickr would most likely need to move the originals of photos off of Flickr and on to users’ hard drives (high res photos running for 2 days when you forget to turn them off would be very bandwidth intensive). It would be important to protect these files. They should be acknowledged but invisible and inaccessible .jpg files that you CHOOSE to allow on your PC in return for the experience. Microsoft should be able to protect these files with DRM.
2. Provide users sitemeter style tracking information. Part of sharing in the blogosphere means knowing about where the conversations about you are going on. Although Technorati can be used to track some of the external links to your flickr stream, what is needed is a flickr based referral system to track both internal and external links to and from your photostream. This referral information should provide basically the same information that sitemeter does including allowing you the ability to rank your incoming links, etc.
3. Develop a stock photography matchmaking service that Flickr users could opt in to. The top 5% of Flickr’s photography at present is every bit as good as what the pros are turning out at the stock photography houses. Flickr should build a stock photo business that undercuts Getty Images by about 30% and provide a 50/50 split for money raised with their photographers. As most on Flickr are amateurs, they do not have the knowledge or connections to get into the stock photo business. Flickr should provide an easy path (for those that choose this) and provide education about the various issues regarding rights clearance where necessary and should have a department to maintain waivers for rights clearance in cases where images might contain people or businesses.
4. Integrate Flickr’s interestingness algorithm into Yahoo! Image Search. Where applicable, Flickr’s interestingness algorithm is vastly superior to both Google and Yahoo! Image Search. Although Yahoo! And Google Image Search are more complete, where Flickr does have top ranked photos they should incorporate these into the Yahoo! Image search algorithm to appear as first page results. This will promote their Flickr brand and provide a substantially better image search experience for the Yahoo! Image Search User.
5. Build a spellchecker that spell checks all the text on your flickrstream including titles, descriptions and especially tags. Many tags are misspelled at present and giving the option many people would want to correct this.
6. Develop a rewards based incentive program to promote Flickr – especially with top photographers. On each users main home page flickr has the following: “Invite your friends and family. Why? Flickr is so much better when your friends and family are on it. When you log in their new pictures are there, and they automatically see yours.
Indeed. While I’m sure people use this all the time, how about promoting it by creating a simple ranking of the top referrers of others to flickr and reward the top 25 with free flickr pro accounts and build a contest for the number one referrer. This would be the cheapest PR buzz they could ever buy.
7. Increase the speed in three specific areas: when adding your photos to groups, when you pull up the most recent comments made on your photos, and when you search. Not sure what needs to be done here but the speed needs to be improved.
8. Make interestingness the default search vs. most recent photos uploaded. Typically the most recently uploaded photos when you do a search are not that interesting. Why not give people the best photos first and let them use most recent as a back up if they so wish.
9. Allow users to sort their contacts’ photos by interestingness. I’m constantly finding super great photos of my contacts. Many of my contacts have photostreams of over 2,000 photos. I would like the ability to sort my entire list of contacts by how Flickr ranks their photos from an interestingness standpoint. How many new gems would I find? I’m sure many. This would be much more efficient than having to hunt through all of their streams. In addition I should be able to pull up all of my contacts photos ranked by favs and filter out those shots that I have already fav’d. If I’ve fav’d it I’ve seen it and know about it. Help me find the best shots from my contacts that I’ve yet to see.
10. Private favorites. Allow me to privately fav photos where only I and the photographer who is hosting the photo can see it. Many people are hesitant to fav… ummm…. “certain” photos that they would like to go back and view as favorites as everyone else can see what you fav. With full screen slide shows this would also be important. Although you might find a particular edgier photo interesting and want to fav it, you may not want it shown in your living room in front of all of your friends at the next Flickr meet up that you hold at your home. This is one of the reasons why a lot of the edgier work on Flickr has lots and lots of views but a relatively low fav/view ratio.