Looks like Flickr is making some changes this year

This year is going to be big at Flickr! In the coming weeks and months you will see significant updates to Flickr’s user experience, new features and offerings across devices. Our goal is to build a gorgeous, intuitive, and truly beautiful experience for you, your friends and your photos.

Flickr used to be / still is a great photo site. I’m hopeful they can return to their former glory in a world full of Twitpics and Instagrams.1

  1. The day to day photos that you might take from your phone and share should have been Flickr’s, but they let all these newcomers take that. 

Pay At The Pump and Photo Sharing

For the longest time the Mobil station and Stewart’s gas pumps in my town didn’t have pay-at-the-pump options. Neither of them had it, so there was no real competitive incentive for one to spend the money on them until the other did.

About a year or two ago the Mobil station installed pay-at-the-pump. Now both of these gas stations have it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Flickr is the best site for photo sharing. Flickr lets you browse photos at full screen. You can see all kinds of details on a photo page (EXIF data like ISO speed, whether a picture was taken with flash, what model camera took it, and so on).

Photography is the centerpiece on Flickr.

Then Facebook and Picasa came along.

Facebook wins the photo-sharing contest for most people, because for most people photography is a component of their social world. On Flickr, photography is art. On Facebook photography is more like “LOL. Look how trashed you were at the company party!”

Plus it doesn’t hurt that Facebook doesn’t discourage photo uploads. Flickr’s free accounts were limited to three photosets (their word for photo albums) until March 2009. The free accounts only display your last 200 photos and let you upload 100 megs a month. Want more than that? You’ll need to get a pro account for $24.95 a year.

Despite Flickr being the site for photographers it still lags a bit on basic things. Like navigation. When browsing on Facebook you can hit the left and right arrow keys to go through photos. Can’t do that on Flickr unless you’re in slideshow mode…which I rarely use. As one Flickr user puts it, why not add it regular pages anyway?

Maybe they will. If other photo sites hadn’t come along (like Picasa, Facebook, and even Zooomr) then Flickr probably wouldn’t have lifted the limits on photosets. Think Flickr ever had plans for users to tag people in photos? They didn’t add it until October this year.

All because you could pay at the other guy’s pump.

Photo by Flickr user brutal and used under a Creative Commons License.