The New Yahoo Mobile Flickr iPhone App, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Yesterday I downloaded the new Flickr iPhone app developed by Yahoo Mobile. The app is available in the U.S. and some other regions as well. Apparently there are regions that it is not available in yet (Ireland, Sweeden, etc.) as well, but I can’t seem to find an official breakdown for where it is available and where it is not.
1. It’s free. You certainly gotta love the price of this new app. It also appears to be entirely advert free which is pretty cool as well. I only tried it on a paid pro account though so maybe non-Pro users see ads.
2. Browsing recent uploads from (I assume) your contacts are pretty awesome. Viewing recent uploads and faving them from the app seems simple and intuitive.
3. You can upload photos that you take on your iPhone to your Flickrstream directly (I’ll never use this, but as the iPhone is now the most popular camera on Flickr, this functionality makes a ton of sense). Apparently batch uploading is not supported yet though.
4. The application seems very simple and intuitive to grasp and if you are on a good connection, photos seem to populate very quickly.
1. No real way to search for photos near you. One of the things that I would think would be super cool would be for Flickr to interact with your iPhone’s geolocation abilities to show you geotagged photos near you. Especially for the traveler, this would seem like a cool feature. It would also be cool to sort this list by most recent, most interesting, and closest and also allow you to filter it by tags as well. So, for instance, if I was visiting Chicago and wanted to see everything tagged graffiti near my motel, I could do that and use my iPhone’s GPS functionality to take me right to something that was interesting.
2. Recent activity doesn’t show you how many faves your photos have received like the web version. The regular web page does show this and it would be good to see this on the iPhone version as well.
3. There appears to be no way to filter photos from the ” Recent Uploads” section. Actually I’m not even sure what the “Recent Uploads” are supposed to represent. I think that these are the most recent photos uploaded by your contacts. But when I compare this page with the recent uploads from my contacts on the actual Flickr site the photos appear to be different. On Flickr web I’m allowed to see the most recent uploads by my contacts four ways (either by friends/family only or all contacts, and most recent 1 upload or most recent 5 uploads). On Flickr iPhone there does not appear to be a way to filter these uploads by friends/family only for instance. It would be nice to have some sort of toggle button between friends/family and contacts in keeping with consistency with the Flickr web site. I tend to browse my friends/family recent uploads more than all of my contacts photos so it’s disappointing that this functionality appears missing.
4. While the screensaver app that is the default welcome screen is pretty cool, it could be better. Actually I’m not even sure exactly what these photos represent. It would be nice to be able to customize this opening slide show. I’d love to be able to set it (for instance) to show the most recent photos of my friends/family. Or to show the most recent photos on Flickr tagged “neon AND california.” Or to show photos within a one mile radius of where I am sorted by interestingness. You get the idea. Being able to customize this initial slideshow would make it better.
5. No support for group discussions. Group thread discussions are one of the most active places on Flickr. It would have been nice to see an intuitive way to browse group discussions from the iPhone.
1. Support for the new app seems pretty poor. There is no FAQ that I’ve been able to find on the app. Inquiries into the product over at the Flickr Help Forum are being redirected by Flickr staff to this page, which seems pretty unhelpful. The Flickr Blog has not even posted about the new app yet. You’d think that since Yahoo Mobile and Flickr are both owned by Yahoo that they would have coordinated support on the product a little better than this.
2. At least for me the app still feels very buggy. Maybe I’m just hitting it on a bad day (it’s second day released) or maybe the app hates wifi, but much of the functionality of the app didn’t work for me. For instance, when I tried to search for photos all that came back were blank thumbnails. When I tried using the contacts search feature to search for some of my contacts many of my contacts were not there and missing. A search for three of my contacts, for example (Andertho, Ivan Makarov, and Merkley) all came up with no results when browsing the “contacts” section of the app.
Later on I was able to get search results to actually populate, but it seems (best I can tell) that search results returned for any search term are based on Flickr’s “Relevancy” algorithm, which is the worst way to view search results on Flickr. This app should search using the interestingness algorithm instead of Flickr’s “relevancy” algorithm and it should also allow you to search by most recent photos as well.
Also, when I tried to search by my tags, this wouldn’t work either. If I clicked on the letter of the tag it just blinked at me and nothing happened. While browsing sets is cool. It appears that the app only returns your last 40 sets are so. For someone like me (with a lot more sets) it would be nice to see more sets included or for this page to page forward.
The new app does require you to authenticate with Flickr in order to make it work. This step was a little buggy for me as well, but after about 4 hours of retrying I was able to get this authentication to take.
Despite some of the bad/ugly comments, overall I’m very pleased with this app and will use it a lot more than I would have originally thought. It’s a good first step effort by Yahoo Mobile and I think that over time many of the bugs will go away and new functionality, hopefully, will be added to improve the experience. It’s great to be able to have this as a tool to enhance the overall Flickr experience and I imagine that I’ll especially use it to fave recent photos uploaded by my contacts when I’ve got down time and am out and about.