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.

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  1. Jonathan says:

    Good ideas. I think the stock-photo model could be improved if Flickr made the revenue split 90/10 in favor of photographers. If Flickr did this it would capture a huge amount of business overnight. The 50/50 split is a relic of the days when distribution costs were substantial. Offering photographers a better deal means more photos and more stock-photo customers going to Flickr first.

    Jonathan’s Photoblog

  2. erik says:

    just found your long post on a random browse through flickr and since i’m not allowed to reply there i’ll do it here –
    1. full screen slideshows – ehm, okay. would make more sense than the current slideshows (but on slower connections they wouldn’t work). i never watch slideshows anyway…
    2. style track etc – sorry i don’t speak Geek, what’s that point about?
    3. stock photography – no way, it’s a sharing site, not for commercial stuff, it’ll end up like webshots sending you pictures of the week which you can download if you pay
    4. interestingness – horrible. interestingness is like flickr’s big popularity contest, and they won’t even tell us what it’s based on
    5. spellchecker – well, for the english speaking part of flickr it could be interesting
    6. invite friends and family – your idea would reward those who send out mass spam, or am i reading it wrong?
    7. increase speed – at times, yes (and certainly when adding to groups esp. when using firefox), though flickr performs well overall, it’s certainly no fotolog.net
    8. interestingness default search? no way!
    9. contact’s photos by interestingness? well, i’d like to view other ppl’s streams sorted by number of comments/favs/views as an option. but not interestingness.
    10. private favorites – as an option maybe, i don’t care

    my personal wishlist is nowhere near yours! what flickr needs is to become more userfriendly – now i won’t give out my flickr account to people who are not computer savvy enough because it’s so complicated.

    main thing that’s needed is non-member comments. forcing friends to sign up is so intrusive (that’s what bugmenot.com is for!), it’s actually rude and annoys the hell out of the internet community

    having large size as default would be a nice option, too. now the original pictures are so many clicks away, esp. if you don’t have greasemonkey.

    and/or make the comment area available underneath the larger size, too, so you don’t have to go back and forth between comments and (original) picture

    then there’s some minor things like now the page of 54 thumnbnails is “hidden” (5 weird clicks needed – or one, on my personal greasemonkey) and for ppl with bulky streams it’s the only decent way for a quick browse through.

    and sets of sets, which everybody is wanting – why not?

    and last of all, flickr staff needs to work on their social skills a little. i don’t post in central and support anymore because i would not even be allowed there to say what i just said here…

    erik
    http://flickr.com/photos/eti-eti