Yahoo! Begins Integration of Flickr Photos Into Yahoo! Search

Well you knew it was bound to happen eventually.

Today on the Yahoo! Search Blog, Lingxian Ding has announced that a pilot program has been established which will highlight Flickr images on Yahoo!’s main web search pages. No Thomas Hawk photos sited yet and the pilot seems to be limited to only 5 phrases and then only four photos each, but these would seem to be the first 20 Flickr photos to officially be placed within Yahoo!’s web search.

The initial five phrases that are reported live for the Yahoo! search terms are: funny photos, interesting photos, travel photography, nature photography, and black and white photography.

I’ve been writing about image search for a while and have been surprised that Flickr integration with Yahoo! Search had not begun earlier. Stewart Butterfield of Flickr explains the reasoning behind this in a thread about image search that I wrote about earlier today:

“We had been holding off on adding Flickr photos to Yahoo! image search’s index until we had the opt-out system built since not including photos from people don’t want them in there seems a lot more important than including images from people who do want them in there.

In general, though it’d be good for Flickr (the business) if Flickr photos placed highly and were well-represented in the image search indexes, it often isn’t what the people who use Flickr want. So, better to err on the side of caution.”

Flickr recently built a tool on their site where users now may select to exclude their images from search indexing.

This move today in integrating Flickr images into Yahoo! is likely the first small step in a series of steps that you might expect to see in the future as Yahoo! seeks to recognize the value of the expertly organized, tagged and arranged images in the flickr database. Although Webshots and Photo Bucket have almost twice and over ten times as many images in their libraries respectively, Flickr’s library is probably the best organized library due to the extensive social input of tags and ratings that it holds. I would expect to see Flickr integrate much richer Flickr search actually inside of Yahoo Image Search in the future.

More from CNET on social search.

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  1. Sam says:

    I just tried (on a hunch) searching for “Grey Street” on Yahoo, Google and MSN. My most favourited photo is of Grey Street and I wondered if it would show up.

    Which one was the only search engine for it to show up under.

    Google – in first place.

  2. It looks like you could classify the first foray into Yahoo/Flickr integration with in three groups.

    It’s early yet, but I’m not blown away by this. I am curious to see how they progress though.