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

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Yahoo (s YHOO)’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 (s FB), Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. And, in addition to the iOS (s AAPL) app Flickr launched last December, Yahoo is launching an Android (s GOOG) 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.”

25 Responses to “Flickr gets revamp — with 1 TB of photo storage free — and Yahoo gets new NYC office”

  1. Mike Savad

    so because everyone has a car – there are no professional drivers?

    owning a camera and taking pictures, doesn’t make you a pro. being a pro makes you a pro. as far as space goes, that’s just tossing numbers around. i have a years worth of images all raw, thousands of them, and i have yet to fill a terabyte.

  2. Stefano

    My understanding of what Mayer said is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to be able to afford a “Pro” offering. She was talking about the offering after all, she was not talking philosophy or ethics. So, everybody must be a Pro in this respect. Democratization of the possibilites. Disk space is (or will soon be) a commodity, especially in this Cloud era. Flickr did just break this barrier ahead of others.

    We should be able to interpret and understand what other people say, not only read a newsline and criticize.

  3. alanvision

    I am sure that what she meant was that with everyone taking interesting images that the distinction of being a professional photographer isn’t really meaningful in terms of their service. There are a lot of amateurs out there doing exciting work, and as always there are a lot of professional photographers out there whose work is technically lacking or boring. Probably a careful analysis led to the idea that everyone wants more space and will spend more time on the site if they have more photos there. Then it becomes a serious revenue stream to be serving ads up at every turn. Many will find those ads intrusive, and that a whole lot of people will choose to opt out of the ads for twice what professionals pay now. Another serious revenue stream. Of course a new opportunity for someone to create a new site for all those disgruntled professionals who want a more differentiated way to serve up their photos (if they’ve had a highly differentiated service for 25 bucks a year, they should be grateful for the nearly free ride they’ve had over the years). Now everyone gets more space and hi-res photos for free. I don’t like all the ads or the implementation of changes, but I imagine (and hope) that they’ll be adjusting things over time.

  4. I’m really disappointed with the direction Flickr has gone, but based on the comments by the CEO, I fully understand why it’s so mucked, a dead fish stinks from the head down. She really has no clue what it is that we all loved about Flickr. The new site is complicated to the eye, images take way too long to load. They are too big and in your face, I would much rather see smaller images to start and if they are interesting enough, I can open the larger version, but I would prefer to view them on a white background. Flickr had a simple, smooth, easy to view web site, now it gives me a headache.

  5. No 1 Yahoo at Yahoo – ” With so many people taking pictures…there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore.”

    Really?? Is that so… Ok Marissa Mayer, then your shareholders should likely be concerned, as so many of us do math that there is no need for professional math people (i.e.: Accountants) anymore… and seeing as so many of us can speak, there is also no need for Intelligent wordsmiths (i.e.: Speechwriters) either – a point you so eloquently prove with your vacuous “awesome” presentation. #ValleyGirl #Bonehed #TmblrSNAFU #GiveYour EmptyHeadAShake! @CraigMinielly

  6. I would say that based on Marissa’s change of jobs on average of every two years (with the exception of one position) and 12 years in the work force that perhaps she’s lacking in a knowledge of what “professional” means – thus explaining why she feels competent to lump first time DSLR users with a Flickr account with professional photographers that have been providing product for 20, 30 and even 40 years.

    Shame on you, Marissa

  7. Jim Shreve

    Arrogance abounds. A CEO of a photography website, but doesn’t know a thing about photography. A mayor, who thinks his citizens are all yahoos. Does anyone really need a CEO or a mayor any longer?

  8. Amy Lehr Miller

    I completely agree with Sid! I have to say, it took me good part of the day to decide, but it feels good to finally yank my artwork portfolio off of flickr, even though I am completely upset about this, simply because there is this flippant attitude about it. My artwork would be competing with ads, if someone wasn’t a paying customer. So unprofessional. I am glad I have a 2 week old (now useless title) Pro account to look back over and read, before telling my friends to find me at my new website. So glad I didn’t get 200 business cards printed up with flickr listed on them, because I was just about to! Happily moving forward.

  9. I’m incredibly disappointed with this change. I’ve had a Pro account for around six years, and feel betrayed by what is happening with Flickr. I am considering buying a new external hard drive and pulling all of my thousands of photos off of Flickr. Ridiculous.

  10. jimatkent

    negative reaction from Flickr users is running 99 to 1

    this is a serious mis-judgement of product and demographic

    that is your big-story

  11. Cy Cyr

    “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”)

    – Wow. My heart sank when I read this. Can’t wait to share this with my fellow “professional photographer” friends. Or are they professional? Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, you’re clueless.


  12. Sid Ceaser

    Terrible. Especially that quote. “there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore”. Right. And everyone thinks they are a CEO nowadays.

    How insulting.

    As someone that has been a Pro Flickr member for years and years, Pro members are getting the short end of the stick and basically being treated like Sh*t now. We have to pay double what we were paying now, JUST to disable ads? And If you want to upgrade to the larger file sizes, you’ll need to convert from a Flickr Pro to a free account? Wut?

    What a mess. They redesigned the face of Flickr, and in the process, screwed existing supporters in the rear end.

    Boooo to Marissa Mayer. Booooo.

  13. realjjj

    So this is where the Google went when Google lost it.
    Good for them, it’s not like anyone will need 1TB for pictures anytime soon but it sounds appealing and by the time most will need all that storage, Yahoo will be able to afford it

    • shawnpwright

      Um, some of us will. I already have over 1,100 photos taking up over 1gb of space. I have a Pro account, but I have no idea what’s going to happen to it, so I’m seriously considering moving my stuff to another photo site.

      • Slow down a second. You’ve used 1tb of space for only 1100 images? Since 1tb is 1000gb that means each one of your pics is almost 1 gigabyte in size. What kind of camera do you use? and also, why would you post images that bloody big?