Archive for May 2013

Flickr Users Uploading 71% More Photos to Flickr Since New Design Rolled Out

Founder of Flickr Likes the New Flickr

Recently I blogged about the new design on Flickr noting that engagement on my own personal photostream had skyrocketed. By my own estimation, activity (comments/faves) have increased approximately 294% on my stream since the redesign.

Despite a loud, vulgar, disrespectful chorus, by a small group of torch and pitchfork type haters in the Flickr Help Forum, I’ve wondered how the larger Flickr community has felt about the site changes. To hear it told by the haters, *everybody* on Flickr hates the new design and they are all leaving in droves for other sites on the web.

One of the interesting things about Flickr, is that each photo on Flickr is assigned a unique ascending number on upload that signifies its numerical place as a Flickr upload. Because of this structure, it is fairly easy to measure the pace of uploads at any given time on Flickr.

I wanted to see if users were uploading more or less photos since the changes.

My measurement is approximate, but would seem to indicate that the number of uploads to Flickr since the site redesign have increased *dramatically*, about 71%.

To measure this, I tried to find a photo about as close to the redesign implementation as possible. In this case I found this photo taken by Veronica Belmont posted at about 3pm PST on the date of the change, May 21. This was within minutes of the change as implemented on Flickr. This is what I’m using as a baseline image. It is Flickr photo number 8,776,546,808 (you see this number in the url of the photo).

Next, I went and looked at a recent photo uploaded today. This photo by my contact rollerphoto works. This photo is upload number 8,855,853,505

So roughly between today and the changes made by Flickr, users have uploaded almost 80 million photos to the site. The time measured is about six hours short of six days.

Next, I went and found an older photo uploaded about six days *before* the change was implemented. In this case I found this photo taken by my contact Jazzyblue TR. This photo is one hour short of six days from the changes. This photo is upload number 8,730,146,140.

So, in the 6 days prior to the change, users uploaded about 47 million photos to the site.

So, roughly, as measured in the six days before and the six days after Flickr’s new site design, uploads are up about 71% site wide.

Now, number of photos uploaded is only one metric to measure when looking at the effect of this change. As I mentioned earlier, personally my own engagement numbers are up even higher — but to hear it told by a loud, vocal contingent of about 3,000 members in the Flickr Help Forum, 99% of users hate this change. This simply is not true. The vast silent majority of Flickr users are chugging along just like they always have been and I suspect Flickr signups have *far* exceeded deletions since the change has been made.

Flickr can view much more data internally than I can from the outside, but I suspect that by every way they measure success on the site, this most recent change has been an absolute homerun for them.

Unfortunately, with all change comes haters. Flickr would do well to ignore these haters. Of the almost 100 million Flickr users, we may lose a few thousand of the most vulgar and vitriolic accounts on Flickr, but I suspect what we gain in terms of new users is far greater.

Interestingly enough, earlier last week, the Founder of Flickr himself, Stewart Butterfield, had high praise for the new design on Flickr. Butterfield left as General Manager of Flickr back in 2008, but remains a user still today. In a tweet, Butterfield described the new design as “fantastic,” noting that history will ultimately vindicate the work as “nicely done.” I posted about this praise by Butterfield in the hatefest in the Flickr Help Forum and it only took about 21 minutes for one of the haters to compare his words with Adolph Hitler.

Hopefully the worst of these haters *do* actually leave the site as they keep threatening to do over and over and over and over again, and let the rest of us who *do* like the changes enjoy the new design for what it is, a new, better, fresher version of Flickr.

Flickr Founder Stewart Butterfield on Flickr’s New Redesign

Founder of Flickr Likes the New Flickr

Dear Marissa Mayer, Please Give Us a Tool to Better Block Bad Actors on Flickr

As an opinionated blogger, watching Flickr roll out recent changes to the site this past week has been an interesting experience, to say the least.

Thanks, Marissa Mayer, for making Flickr awesome again. Thanks also to the Flickr team who have worked so hard to roll out these changes. The new Flickr is the most photo immersive experience anywhere on the web. It is far more engaging and far more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

Witnessing and countering in the vile hatefest that the Flickr Help Forum has become this past week has also been interesting. Simply for expressing my opinion in a public feedback forum on the new design, I’ve been called a shill, a troll, a sock puppet, a scrotum sack, and many things far worse that I don’t really feel like printing.

I’ve been told that my photography is absolute crap, been accused of working for Yahoo, of being related to Marissa Mayer, of trying to pump up Yahoo’s stock price by supporting the changes — my work, motives and integrity have all been subject to relentless attacks there.

There is little civility in a forum taken over by the ugliest and most vulgar of what the web represents.

The vandalization of Marissa Mayer’s own Flickrstream, and the encouraged vandalism in the same forum, saddens me. To see someone leave an offensive comment on a Mother’s Day Photo, of all things, makes Flickr less of a place to want to spend time.

One Flickr staffer had to actually turn off public comments on his Flickrstream. “You are going to hell,” was the comment that made him turn them off.

There is, at least, a partial answer to this problem: give us a tool to block other users on Flickr.

Flickr already does have a blocking feature of course, it’s just super weak and only prevents someone from leaving a comment on one of *your* photos.

On the other hand, even if you block someone, they can still attack you in all sorts of other places on Flickr, where you spend time. Flickr users should be able to use the public areas of the site without being subject to vile personal attacks. The Help Forum, Groups, other people’s photos, all should be places where Flickr users can visit and feel safe and comfortable.

I left Flickr groups for good a few years back (so did a lot of my friends). The reason why I left was that groups were becoming too ugly. Especially as an opinionated and high profile user, I found myself subject to constant terrible attacks. There was nothing that could really be done about this. Sure, you could report someone violating the Flickr Community Guidelines to Flickr, and maybe 5 days later their account would be deleted, but then they’d just make up a new troll account and be right back at it over and over again.

It was simply easier to just leave the public community of Flickr than to deal with the hate.

When I first joined Google+, I saw some of these same bad actors appear over there, too. I’d watch both myself and my good friends be attacked by others — jealous, petty haters and trolls, mostly. But then Google did a really smart thing. Google rolled out a really strong blocking tool and, just like that, all the hate went away.

You see, on Google+, when you block somebody, they become entirely invisible to you. They are entirely filtered out of all of your views on G+. Poof. Gone for good, not just in your stream, but *everywhere* for you on the site — and that has made Google+ a far better, nicer and more polite place for community than Flickr. Where the Flickr community is a negative hatefest, the G+ community is the most amazing, optimistic, supportive community I’ve ever known online.

You see, blocking the worst of the web doesn’t just filter it out of your view. The more significant thing that it does is it *encourages* civility.

Right now on Flickr we have no power against incivility. People can be as nasty and as rude and as ugly and as disrespectful as they want. They can spam the Flickr help forum with images of excrement (as they actually did last week) and you can’t do a damn thing about it — but if you give us the ability to block these bad actors, then their power is reduced. They know that as soon as they begin the ugliest of hate that the vast majority of positive contributing members will simply block them. Their audience is diminished and soon they are standing on a soap box shouting only to the 10 or so other users who share their hate filled outlook on life.

Before I quit using Flickr groups, one particular nasty member was looking at the photos that I was favoriting (this is forced public and Flickr won’t allow me to control who gets to see it — unlike on G+ where it is private) and this person began leaving vile comments on every photo that I was commenting on. This way, every single one of their comments was showing up in my recent activity, even though I’d blocked them from commenting on my own photos. That’s just wrong.

If Flickr wants to be a place where community can flourish, they need to give us tools to protect ourselves from the hate.

Marissa, I don’t need to tell you how bad the hate can be on Flickr. If you’ve reviewed your own Flickrstream this past week, you know what I’m talking about. It’s deplorable. Especially when any user can so easily just keep making anonymous troll account after anonymous troll account — please, give us a tool to remove the bad actors from our Flickr experience.

This week’s new design work was fantastic, now let’s go to work on improving the community for those of us who want to positively contribute there as well.

Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the New Flickr

Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out the most significant changes to their service since purchased by Yahoo back in 2005.

In addition to a major web redesign and a new Android app, Flickr also changed the basic fee structure of their account types and storage limits.

Former Pro users are being allowed to retain their $24.99 year fee structure for unlimited, ad free service. If you are a Pro account user, nothing changes if you want to keep it.

Free account users were all given 1 terabyte of free high res photo storage. Free accounts are still ad supported, as they have been in the past, but now you are no longer limited to only viewing your 200 most recent uploads to the site.

Despite the typical torch and pitchfork mob rage emanating from the Flickr Help Forum*, (a group of super negative Flickr users representing less than .01% of all Flickr users), I’ve found over the past week that engagement on my own photos is up dramatically. More specifically, based on my Flickr stats page, engagement (as measured by comments and favorites) is up approximately 294% on my own photos since the new release.

*Dear Marissa Mayer, PLEASE, give us the ability to block users on Flickr, it would make it a much nicer place for those of us who want to enjoy it. 🙂

I have no way of knowing, more broadly speaking, if the stats numbers look this good for Flickr in general, but if they do, I suspect that they are very happy indeed with the success of this week’s new features.

This post is not meant to be a debate about the new changes; this post is for those of you who are ok with the site design and are now looking for ways to get the most out of it.

On with the list.

Tip #1, Make The Last Photo You Upload in a Batch Count

1. Consider a strategy for uploading your batches of photos. I upload two batches of photos to Flickr a day — one in the morning and one in the evening. Your upload strategy and the ordering of your batch uploads matters. With the new Flickr redesign, photos on the homepage are really, really, big. Big photos get far more engagement. However, the only photo that gets shown ginormous on the homepage is the very last one that you upload. The 5 before that are shown as small thumbnails there.

So, if you are uploading a batch of photos to Flickr, make sure the one that is uploaded last is the best of the batch. Also, landscape oriented and square photos show up much larger on the flickr homepage than portrait oriented crops. So, all other things being equal, consider making sure your last photo uploaded in a batch to Flickr is one of your strongest square or landscape oriented photographs.

Tip #2, Flickr is Your New Cloud Photo Back Up

2. Anyone who ever complains about losing photos on a crashed hard drive again is just dumb. While you, of course, should not depend on Flickr as your sole backup strategy, everyone now has a free 1TB drive in the sky for photos.

Even if you don’t want to share certain photos, or you only want to share them with your very close friends and family, upload them to Flickr anyways and mark them private or friends/family only. If nothing else, you will have a backup of last resort if you need to go get those photos later. I don’t know of anyplace else on the web where you can get 1TB of free storage. Take advantage of that not only for the photos you want to share publicly, but all your photos.

Hunt Peck

3. This is not necessarily a tip new to the new Flickr, but it’s one everyone ought to know about — keyboard commands..

On Flickr you can use the F key to fave a photo, the C key to comment on a photo, the G key to add a photo to a group, and the T key to tag a photo. This will make your Flickr experience much faster. For those complaining that, with larger photos, they now have to scroll down the page to comment, no you don’t — simply press the C key and you will jump right there, with your cursor right in place and ready to type.

Tip #4, More

4. … = MORE! This is a universal symbol on the internet for more. Anytime you see … anywhere, this means that there are things hidden underneath the … that you may want to find. It’s a good way for a site to de-clutter. I’ve seen many people ask where their favorite lesser used Flickr feature went (EXIF data, gallery functionality, all sizes, etc.). Just click on the … and you’ll find it all there.

Tip #5, Make Sure Your Sets Are in the Order You Want Them In

5. Make the most out of your sets. By default, Flickr puts your sets in the order created. Your most recent sets are shown first, and older sets are shown last. This may not be the best way to present your sets though. One of my most viewed sets is one of my oldest, my 10 faves or more set. If I didn’t manually move this to the top of my sets page, it would be buried in the over 1,800 sets I have on Flickr. Go to the Flickr organizer page here and make sure that your sets are in the order that you want them in.

If you have a lot of sets and find it cumbersome to move them around in the organizer (like I do). Shrink your browser view to super small and it will make more and more thumbnails in the organizer that are easier to move around.

Make sure your sets page shows your best sets on the first page. This will give people a great first impression of what your albums are all about.

Consider making a few “best of” sets on Flickr. If you use Jeremy Brooks’ SuprSetr app it will automatically tag all of your photos that have been favorited 10 times or more fav10. It can then build an album for you of just these popular photos of yours that you can highlight on your sets page.

Just Re-Upped for 2 More Years of Flickr PRO!!!

6. If you have a Flickr Pro account, do NOT let that expire. Your Flickr Pro account is worth more than it’s ever been worth in the past. It’s pure gold. Getting unlimited, high res, ad-free photos was the deal of a lifetime. Although Flickr is no longer offering this extraordinary deal anymore, if you have it, you get to keep it.

Go here to check on the status of your Flickr Pro and I’d recommend both renewing it now AND making sure you are set up as a recurring Pro so it automatically charges your credit card in the future. Don’t lose this awesome benefit.

Tip #7, Reupload Your Avatar

7. Make sure you reupload your Flickr avatar on the new Flickr. The old Flickr used a smaller version of your avatar, so you might notice that you have sort of this weird small avatar over a larger, dimmed out version of your old avatar on your Flickr page. You can reupload a better sized version of your avatar which will override this and make your new, larger avatar look much better.

Tip #8, Make Sure to Personalize Your Cover Photo

8. Change your cover photo. Flickr added a number of new cover photos by default with the new page design. Go to your page and change your cover photo to something new. Find a photo of yours (or a portion of a photo of yours) that uses an extreme landscape crop and will fit there and work well. I used a mosaic strip of photos for mine.

Tip #9, Review Who Calls You a Contact

9. Make sure to review your “who calls you a contact” page. This is a page that shows everyone on Flickr who has contacted you. You may be surprised that some of your friends have contacted you that you are not aware of. Review this list to see if you’ve missed any old or new friends on Flickr and add them back if you want.

Tip #10, Mobile

10. Make the most out of mobile. Although 95% of my own personal Flickr time is spent on the web version, don’t forget about mobile. Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out their Android app, which is every bit as good as their previous iPhone app and probably even better.

One of the easy things to do with this app is to favorite photos by your friends. Simply pull up your contacts photostream on the app and tap/tap to fave a photo. You can scroll down and see different friend’s photos or you can scroll sideways and see more photos from a single friend. When you have down time on the bus, or are waiting for your table at Bob’s Big Boy or wherever, use that time to favorite photos of your friends. They will see that and favorite your photos back most likely. 🙂

Ok Glass, Get Dogfood

Bonus tip: Get the new Flickr app for Google Glass. It’s awesome! 😉 Just kidding. There’s no new Flickr app for Google Glass…


You can find me on Flickr here.

Those Abusing Marissa Mayer’s Personal Flickrstream Should Be Ashamed of Themselves

Dear Marissa Mayer

As one of Flickr’s most active users, I’ve been watching intensively over the past 48 hours as the new Flickr design has been released. Personally speaking, I’m a fan. I think the new Flickr is the best version I’ve seen yet and agree with almost every design change that they made. That’s not what this post is about though; I’ve already given my opinion on the new Flickr here.

This post is about respect and civility.

As the drama of the new Flickr has unfolded, an element of what I consider to be the worst of the internet has taken to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s *PERSONAL* Flickr stream to express their disdain. Sure, Flickr (the company, not the person) has a dedicated Forum for users to discuss the new designs, which is way more than many companies provide, btw, but for some people this isn’t enough. They need to take their displeasure out personally on Mayer.

Even worse, many of the attacks on Mayer’s *PERSONAL* Flickr stream are crude, classless, vulgar personal attacks of the worst kind.

This is just absolutely awful.

Whatever people may think about the new design, there is a way to go about talking about change. It saddens me to see the lowest element of the web react this way. It saddens me to see people in the help forum egging others on to go post on Mayer’s personal page.

Ironically, it was “the internet” that asked Mayer to “make Flickr awesome again” when she first started up as CEO of Yahoo. Flickr had been neglected for years and finally Mayer would be our savior.

Then, she goes and actually DOES make Flickr awesome again and people freak the fcuk out. Gee, thanks a lot! At least the page that asked her to make Flickr awesome again gets it right.

Now, whether or not you love the new Flickr or hate it is your own opinion; design can sometimes be subjective — but to post images of excrement on someone’s personal Flickr page over that design opinion? Really? Watching people in the Help Forum encourage the trashing of someone’s personal Flickrstream is disturbing.

Mayer is the first ever CEO of Yahoo to have a public Flickr page. She goes out on a limb and participates in the community and this is what people do? They trash her *personally* over design decisions?

These people should be ashamed of themselves.

I am all about healthy debate. I’ve probably been more vocal and critical of Flickr than just about anyone over the years. I’ve also been a huge cheerleader for Flickr when I feel like they’ve done well. I love Flickr and want to see it be the best place it can possibly be. I may get emotional and heated in my opinions sometimes, but there is a way that debate should go on on the internet, and trashing someone’s personal stream is not it.

Mayer is the youngest CEO in the S&P 500. Whatever your opinion on her and her work, every intention she has with the new Flickr design is to make it BETTER. Being a highly visible CEO means taking a lot of flak. I understand that — but Marissa Mayer is also a human being, and deserves basic respect and civility — like EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING.

One of the reasons why I’ve largely quit Flickr Groups is because you can’t block people in Flickr Groups. I encountered some of the worst human beings I’ve ever met online in some Flickr Groups. Some of the folks who live on Flickr really are the worst of the worst. It’s disappointing seeing some of these same types take to someone’s personal Flickr stream.

Let’s try to show the world that there are still people on Flickr who can discuss and debate with dignity and respect. I think it’s fine to debate the new Flickr design. I think it’s fine to be strongly opinionated about it. I think it’s fine to attack the design itself and share why you dislike it. Attacking employees, though, is way over the line.

I have made my own mistakes on the web over the years. I, too, have, in the past, let my emotions get the best of me. It’s easy to get angry sometimes and I’m certainly capable of overreacting. I’ve tried to learn from these mistakes, though. It’s so much better to attack ideas than individuals. Hate is so ugly.

We are better than this.

The Hangout Where We Review the New Flickr

Last night I recorded a special hangout show with nine other Flickr users where we talk about the new changes at Flickr. In the show we give a tour of the new Flickr, discuss/debate the changes, and provide Pro Tips on how to make the best of the new design.

We also review the recent changes in your account options and discuss the differences between Free, Paid and the old Pro account.

To get a look at what some of Flickr’s active users think of the new changes check it out.

What do YOU think of the New Flickr?

How Flickr [Update DIDN’T] Screw Me Out of My Pro Account On a San Francisco Photo Walk

Just Re-Upped for 2 More Years of Flickr PRO!!!


GREAT NEWS! Since writing this blog post late last night Flickr has fixed this problem. I just noticed on my Flickr account page I have now been given the choice to extend my Flickr Pro account just like recurring Pros. This is awesome. So awesome in fact that I just re-upped for two more years of PRO!!!!!

Thank you Flickr for fixing this and in less than 24 hours! Now that’s customer service!

Earlier today, I wrote a blog post about today’s new changes at Flickr which included a free, ad-supported terabyte of storage for all Flickr users. In my article I referenced that Flickr Pro account users would be given an opportunity to stay Pro going forward. I reported this because this, in fact, was my understanding of what was told to me by a Flickr Senior Manager in a briefing earlier this morning before the announcement.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way, later today, that this is not, in fact, the case.

In actuality, only *some* of Flickr’s Pro accounts are eligible to retain Pro status. More specifically, users had to be paid Pro accounts in January of 2013 and be set up for auto renewal at that time. If you were not specifically a paid, recurring Pro account user in January of 2013, set up on renewal, you will now be screwed out of your Flickr Pro account.

In my case, in August of 2011, I complained to Flickr about an error in their stats reporting. I had to send in several complaints about the same problem, but finally Flickr customer service acknowledged the error in their stats reporting. They said that they’d fix this error and that to make up for my inconvenience they would “gift” me 6 months of Flickr Pro.

My Pro account was set to expire in 2012 but I used another “gift” certificate from Flickr. This time it was a gift certificate that they handed out to all photowalkers on a big Flickr San Francisco photowalk.

Because I applied this 6 months of free pro that Flickr gave to every photowalker at the SF photowalk, my account was not set up to recurring Pro in January of 2013.

So, after paying consistently for two year at a time of Pro on Flickr for years, my Flickr Pro account is now NOT eligible for renewal, and I’m not grandfathered into the Pro Flickr service.

This blows.

How Flickr Screwed Me Out of My Pro Account On a San Francisco Photo Walk

I wish I’d never accepted the Flickr trojan horse “gift” of 6 months of free Pro at the San Francisco Photowalk. If I’d not accepted it then I could be grandfathered as a paid Pro account along with everyone else. As it stands now, my Pro account will expire in July of this year with no way to renew it.

Now I’ll be forced to pay Flickr twice as much ($49.99 instead of $24.99) to remove my ads — and since I probably use more than a terabyte of storage, my Flickr fees will probably increase from $24.95/year to $499.99/year.

Earlier today I thought Flickr was doing a very fair thing by allowing Pro accounts to continue on as Pros by paying $24.95 per year. I’ve invested thousands of hours uploading over 80,000 photos to Flickr with the understanding that I was purchasing unlimited photo storage.

Now, today, I’ve been screwed out of my deal because I made the mistake of attending Flickr’s San Francisco photowalk and redeeming a 6 months certificate for free Pro that they handed out.

This is just wrong and also contrary to what I was told earlier today.

Flickr should allow ALL Pro account users the ability to keep their Pro status, and not discriminate against those of us who happened to attend their San Francisco Photowalk last year.

There is a post on Flickr’s help forum about this here, where a Flickr staffer confirms that only some of Flickr Pro accounts are eligible for renewal.

I’m assuming that Flickr will sort some of this out before my Pro account expires in July, but I’m certainly concerned that Flickr would so easily take away Pro accounts from long time members who have supported the site with paid Pro accounts over the years. To offer someone unlimited uploads only to renege on that promise later for attending one of their photowalks feels wrong to me.

I’m still a big fan of today’s design changes and the 1 terabyte free account that Flickr unveiled today, but disappointed that long time Pro account users may now lose their Pro account status.

You can check to see if you are eligible to renew your Flickr Pro account here. If it doesn’t specifically say your Flickr Pro account will renew automatically on this page, you may be screwed too.

Holy Mash Potatoes Batman! Flickr to Offer All Users 1 Terabyte of Free High Res Photo Storage!

New Flickr Photo Page Design

Wow! Well just when you thought the Tumblr acquisition was the big Yahoo news of the day, Yahoo drops yet another bombshell. All free accounts on Flickr just got upgraded to 1 terabyte of FREE storage!

Yep, you heard that correctly; the Flickr 200 photo limit for free accounts is being done away with. If you’re one of those Flickr users who, in the past, complained about Flickr holding your photos beyond 200 in a free account “hostage,” well, the Navy Seals at Flickr HQ have just set them all free.

Starting today, everyone will be able to upload full high res photos up to 50MB to Flickr for FREE up to 1 terabyte. For the .01% of the population who might store more than a terabyte on Flickr, Flickr will sell you an additional terabyte beyond your free one for $499 per year. So 2 terabytes at Flickr would cost you $499.99/year Flickr’s pricing and limits are here.

By comparison, Google would charge you about $1,199 for 2 terabytes of storage per year and only gives you 15GB of high res storage for free. Facebook doesn’t allow high res photos at all and won’t allow photos larger than 2048px on the site.

While this might sound really great for today’s free account users, it should be noted that the new free 1 TB account will contain advertising. If you want to opt out of advertising on your free account, you will need to pay $49 per year….


you are already an existing Pro account member. While Flickr will no longer offer new Pro accounts, existing Pros will be allowed to keep their Pro account and continue paying $24.95/year for full unlimited high res ad free storage (still the best deal in my opinion).

If a user wants to downgrade from their current paid Pro account today, Flickr will allow them to do this and claim their 1TB free/ad supported account and rebate back the residual remaining value on their Pro account early.

In my opinion, this is a game changer. Just last week at Google I/O, Google upgraded everyone from 5GB of free, high res storage to 15GB of free, high res storage, but upgrading from 15GB to 1TB is quite a leap from there.

Of course, on Google+ there are no ads, and on a 1TB free Flickr account a user would see ads.

You have to love competition in the online photo space and today Flickr is raising the stakes. This will likely put more pressure on Google and Facebook both to consider increasing high res storage for users as well.

While giving all users 1TB of free storage was the biggest news from Flickr today, it is only the beginning.

In addition to offering all users 1TB of free storage, today Flickr also ships their highly anticipated Android app. Many users were super excited late last year when Flickr rolled out their new iPhone app. I reviewed the iPhone app here. Now Flickr is bringing a similar, amazing mobile experience to Android users. I was able to see the new app prior to release and it is truly awesome — I’d say even BETTER than the highly regarded 4.5/5 rated iPhone version — one more reason to switch to Android right?

But there’s more…

In addition to an increase in storage limits and a new Android app, Flickr is also shipping today a complete redesign of the entire site. The new version is amazing and beautiful and full of mosaic walls of photos with infinite scroll everywhere. Gone are the days of tiny little thumbnail results using Flickr image search (my favorite feature in today’s new site redesign). Instead, now you see big, bold images of whatever you’re looking for.

Sets on Flickr were also given this same facelift. With the old Flickr, the sets page looked the same as it had since as long as I can remember (I joined Flickr in 2004). Sets contained super tiny little teensy weensy thumbnails of square icons for photos. Today’s release showcases photos in sets in much larger format.

The Flickr photo page now shows a giant, oversized version of your photo with just enough basic photo info above the fold on the page to tempt the user into scrolling down for more. The Flickr recent activity stream now shows giant, oversized photos by your contacts and lots of new information.

It really is a whole new Flickr in the best way possible.

Undoubtedly there will be some critics of the new Flickr site, just like there were critics when the automobile came out and some crotchety old folks still wanted to use their horse and buggy. This is, however, in my opinion the single most positive day for innovation being released by Flickr ever.

Last night when digesting all of the Yahoo Tumblr news, I posted on Twitter, Flickr + Tumblr = chocolate + peanut butter. I’m a huge fan of Reeces Peanut Butter Cups and I think that, in addition to this Flickr news today, future innovation coming from Tumblr and the Tumblr team will only be positive for Flickr. Already, I get the most viral views on my Flickr photos from Tumblr more than any other site. By deepening the Flickr/Tumblr integration, this will create even more synergy for Yahoo.

Maybe instead of titling this post “Holy Mash Potatoes Batman,” I should have titled it “How Yahoo got its Groove Back” — because with what’s gone on there over the past 24 hours, I’d say Yahoo, once again, is a power player in social media.

There is still work at Flickr that needs to be done — groups (now rebranded communities) still need a refresh, for example — but after failing to innovate for years, Yahoo is showing the world that Flickr is indeed super important to their company and that photos are very important to a biggr, boldr, more beautiful Yahoo going forward. Yahoo is investing heavily in Flickr (they are hiring), the first Yahoo CEO ever has an actual active Flickr account, and staff morale feels super high. Flickr VP Brett Wayn and Flickr Head of Product Markus Spiering, are leading the charge, backed by strong commitment from senior management and an enthusiastic all-star team who is pushing out the most significant innovation we’ve seen at Flickr yet.

Congrats to the Flickr team on a wonderful release today. More from Markus on the Flickr Blog here.

You can find me on Flickr here and posting again on Tumblr now here.

Ok Glass, Find Dogfood!

Ok Glass, Get Dogfood

Google Unveils Cutting Edge Photography Tools to Make Your Photos Look Better and the World A More Beautiful Looking Place

Through Glass

Google unveiled significant new innovation in the world of online photography this morning, continuing their rapid development pace on Google+. All in, Google+ pushed out 41 new features today.

Much of the new work is focused on post production photography to make people’s photographs look better than they can straight out of the camera.

Some have suggested that part of Instagram’s success has been their ability to enhance users’ photos with very simple, one touch filters. Instagram has focused on a faux film aesthetic which actually highlights the flaws in many photos to give them more of an artistic, old school feel. By contrast, Google’s easily and automatically applied post production tools, released today, work to make photos look more vivid, life like and realistic.

By using simple techniques like skin softening, clarity adjustment, smart vignetting, HDR and other enhancements, Google, by default, now offers an enhanced photo for every photo uploaded by users to Google+. Also, with this new tech, Google will give you the ability to view the before and after results and decide which you prefer to use. For photographers who do not want their photos altered in any way, these users can turn this default functionality off.

Google Releases New Tools for Photographers Using Google+

As a photographer, I have long been a believer of photo manipulation and post processing technology. Ansel Adams said “you don’t take a photograph, you make it,” as highlighted in Google Social Chief Vic Gundotra’s keynote this morning. Much of Ansel Adams’ genius has been attributed to the work that he did in the darkroom with his photos, his zone system, his post production technology of his time.

I post process all of my photos. The photo at the top of this post is the very first photo that I made with my new Google Glass that I bought yesterday. While I was able to get the composition to a point where I wanted in camera, much of the pop of that image is done with my own post production technique and style.

Many of my photographer friends also spend a great deal of time post processing their images — but the vast majority of the people out there really don’t post process at all. These people don’t own Lightroom and Photoshop or Nik Suite or Aperture or whatever else they might use to improve their photos. These are every day non-photographers who are still enamored with photography and imagery.

By applying some very basic algorithmic based enhancements, Google can make photos for the masses look much better than straight out of the camera. This is a very smart move on Google’s part. Where Instagram makes your bad photos look purposefully worse, Google now makes your bad photos look purposefully better! I stole that line from an unnamed source, btw. 😉

Where this new tech is especially powerful is in photos of people. By using basic skin softening post production tech, photos of people will look better on Google+ than on other social networks. By appealing to our vanity, this gives Google a big advantage. If people can post photos of themselves on Google+ that make them look BETTER than on other networks, many more people will choose to post their photos on G+. Just watch as people post photos of themselves on G+ for auto beautification and even download and post them to other networks I bet.

All of this sort of fancy post production *can* be done today by skilled post production photographers who spend hours and hours behind Photoshop. Now much of it will be automated and released to the masses.

There will undoubtedly be some naysayers about this tech. The same folks who moaned about the Instagramification of mobile photography will probably also complain about this new tech too. Google was smart here by giving users a very simple way to deal with this, by simply turning off this feature.

While the photo enhancements were the sizzle of Google’s announcements today, there were many other significant enhancements added to Google Photos.

Google will now begin to analyze your images and auto tag them. This is no trick where low paid overseas workers are manually reviewing your images; Googles’ algorithms now can look at the context of your photo and the actual subjects in your photos to identify possible tags for the images. If you post a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Google can detect the Eiffel Tower in your photo and add that tag for you. If Google gets the tag wrong, for whatever reason, it’s simple for you to just remove it.

What this means is that more of your photos will be seen in search by people using Google products. Many photographers are looking for more traffic and views on their photos. Who better to provide this traffic than Google Search, yes, using Google auto applied tags. This is the future of image search. If you are a photographer, especially one who depends on photography for your living, you cannot afford to ignore the significance of Google Search. Many of my own photo sales are made by people finding my photos while searching on Google. By uploading your photos to Google+, your photos will rank better in search and now even moreso with this new auto-keywording functionality.

Google Releases New Tools for Photographers Using Google+

Google also introduced a new smart algorithm that can analyze your photos and show you which ones Google thinks are the best of the batch, offering you highlights. Oftentimes we will “spray and pray,” taking 20 images of one person or subject. Google will analyze all of the images and suggest the best one for you. Google uses not just technical information about a photo (is it blurry or underexposed?) but they are using human tested aesthetics to look for what is most appealing.

But there’s more! In addition to the tech released above, Google has also added some very easy tools which will auto generate gifs for you of your photos, auto HDR bracketed shots, and suggest other compelling ways for you to present your photography to the world. Almost miraculously, Google can even look at photos of multiple people and merge the photos into a single photo that takes the best expression of each individual from *different* photos.

All of this also comes with an awesome new look and layout of Google+ which better highlights photography on the network. Popular photos will now be featured in jumbo new oversized form across a three column layout. For non highlighted photos, Google also made portrait oriented photos, especially, look better and bigger. In the past, the portrait format was the worst looking photo format on Google+, now it’s the best — that’s worth noting. 😉 For folks who don’t like the three column layout, they can switch back to a single column if they’d like.

A couple of other notes: all of this work that Google does with your photos is done behind the scenes for your eyes only. You can use the tech or not use the tech. If you use the tech and like it, *you* then choose to share the image to Google+. Nothing is shared until you choose to share it.

The new technology will only work with the JPG format (hopefully Google comes out with RAW support down the road). Google increased everyone’s storage to 15GB of online storage, but note that any photo sized 2048 px or smaller does not count towards your 15GB storage limit (you can also buy more storage if you want to). Google allows unlimited uploading of photos that you either manually resize or allow Google to resize to 2048 px. There is an option on Google where you can set whether or not you want to upload full high res photos or resized 2048 sized images.

I upload some of my photos full res, and many of them I resize manually myself to 2048 px.

Google also introduced a free, stand alone hangout app that you can now use with your mobile phone or desktop device bridging text, photos and real time group video into a single app that preserves conversations (at your choice) over long periods of time. Hangouts have been one of the most popular Google+ feature and several photography related shows have been built around them.

More detail on these changes at Google here. More from Matthew Hanley here. Trey Ratcliff wrote insightful commentary here. More from TechCrunch.