It was only two months ago that Flickr unveiled a beta version of their mobile site optimized for iPhone and iPod touch users, but now it’s official.
Compared to their previous mobile endeavor, this update of the site is nothing short of leaps and bounds ahead. Beyond a svelte new interface that makes browsing, not only, your and your contacts’ activity a breeze, it also puts Flickr’s much touted “interestingness” photos within easy reach.
However, undoubtedly the biggest boon to come with this update is the ability to play back videos — or “long photos” as Flickr so poignantly likes to refer to them as. (It should be noted, though, this only applies to videos uploaded since December 3. Videos on the site previous to that date will be updated for mobile playback in the coming months.) Without delving into the technical details, Flickr is able to do this by utilizing their parent company’s, Yahoo!, Video Platform. Via said platform, Flickr can serve video to the dizzying array of available handsets on the market that support it, and accommodate for their varying screen sizes and codec dependencies, including the iPhone/iPod touch.
After putting the site through its paces, short of an upload dialog box, the new mobile site feels right at home. The design and layout, as well as the video playback, were obviously very well thought out and the execution is nearly flawless, though some will have their minor quibbles. While touch devices still have the option to browse the site in full, Flickr took great care in providing convenient access the most common features you would want while on the go. For example, just as easily as you can “favorite” a photograph or video you like, you can set/update the privacy or safety level setting of your own. Which is great for those moments when you have a lapse in judgement and realize the upload you just made via your mobile wasn’t meant for the world at-large.
Needless to say, It’s good to see that, while most ventures have moved away from iPhone/iPod touch optimized versions of their web apps/sites for official apps — and in unfortunate cases, nothing more than Webkit wrappers — Flickr is still focused on its core competency of helping people “make their content available to the people who matter to them,” by continuing to provide an enjoyable experience to its growing number of mobile web users. Though, that’s not to say an official Flickr app wouldn’t be welcomed, right?