Flickr gets revamp — with 1 TB of photo storage free — and Yahoo gets new NYC office


Yahoo’s already had a busy Monday, what with that little $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition, but the company had a few more announcements to make at a press conference Monday afternoon in New York. It’s revamping its photo-sharing service Flickr, which has largely been left to languish since Yahoo acquired it in 2005. “We want to make Flickr awesome again,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said.

Flickr is getting three big updates. All users will get 1 terabyte of photo storage for free. The site’s interface is also being redesigned to focus on full-resolution photos — both in photo browsing and in search — rather than words and links. Users will be able to share the full-resolution photos by email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. And, in addition to the iOS app Flickr launched last December, Yahoo is launching an Android app.

Flickr Pro, which had allowed users to pay for more storage space, is going away. “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore,” Mayer said (though she acknowledged that there are “different skill levels”). There are still a couple of paid options: Users can pay $49.99 a year for an ad-free interface, and can add a second terabyte of data for $499.99 per year. It’s unclear what will happen with existing Flickr Pro memberships that users have already paid for.

On an investor call on Monday morning, Mayer had noted that there are “obvious synergies between Flickr and Tumblr,” but that it’s too early to say what those opportunities will be.

The choice of location for the press conference — a hotel in Times Square — became clear as Mayer announced that Yahoo has taken out a lease for office space at 229 West 43rd Street — the old New York Times building — and will be moving all 500 of its New York-based employees there. Tumblr’s employees, however, will stay downtown at their Union Square office.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg took the stage to say the move reflects “what a big player New York has become in the tech industry,” with Yahoo becoming “one of the largest tech presences in the city.” He noted that Tumblr is a “New York-grown company” and that NYC was the first city government to have its own Tumblr.

“Twenty years ago, if you looked out the window, there were plenty of yahoos in Times Square,” he said. “Now the Yahoos here will make an honest living … and help us grow and make our economy stronger.”

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