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Can Flickr get back in the photo-sharing game?

Flickr released a completely overhauled app for the iPhone today, as CNET documents here, capping a year-long effort to make its offering more smartphone-friendly. The app from Yahoo is designed to make it easier for users to sign up and search, and it includes impressive new features enabling users to see hi-resolution versions of images and access information such as where the photo was taken.

Flickr was a leader in the early days of online photo-sharing, and it saw tremendous mobile traffic in the pre-iPhone era. But it failed to capitalize on that head start as users migrated to Facebook and then to Instagram, which has intrigued smartphone users with great social features and cute filters.

Instagram’s enormous popularity proved that there’s a strong demand for stand-alone photo-sharing apps, and that Facebook alone isn’t the solution many users are looking for. The opportunity for shared mobile media apps will increase substantially as Instagram becomes more tightly integrated with Facebook, as Twitter increasingly blocks third-party offerings and as we increasingly record and access video on our mobile devices. Flickr may seem like a relic from the past, but it still has a chance to play a big role in how we’ll share media in the future.