Flickr

My Flickr Pro account lapsed into a 500MB free account years ago, the same time my interest in the pioneering photo-sharing service lapsed. The magic just wasn’t there anymore, and I believe the powers-that-be in the Flickr offices noticed users abandoning their accounts, one by one. Yahoo! has given Flickr its mojo back now with the much-anticipated, long-overdue facelift they just revealed. Finally, Flickr has been brought into the modern era.

Cute phrases like BiggrSpectaculr, and Wherevr show that Flickr is serious about being cool again (awesome, actually), and they’re putting a significant amount of weight behind these catchy terms to prove it. I’m very impressed with the new features and may fire up my old account again to test them out.

Biggr
Do I need a terabyte of online photo storage? Absolutely not. That much storage is overkill. My complete iPhoto and Aperture libraries, complete with RAW and JPG files, don’t come anywhere close to one terabyte. Still, a free account so much biggr than the paltry 500MB of old is a significant upgrade, and one that’s probably intended to clobber Flickr’s competitors and force them to increase their server farm acreage.

Spectaculr
Sharing photos in full resolution is a spectaculr feature. Photographers often want to show every meticulously-edited pixel that went through their color-managed workflow, especially now on gorgeous Retina displays, and this sounds like the answer. I always disliked downsampling my photos to 600 pixels high. It was an unnecessary evil, of course, because photographers never want their full-res images out in the wild where anyone can download and print them for selfish reasons without the photographer’s permission, yet they do want them to be seen large enough to be appreciated.

Wherevr
It’s great that Flickr handles the multitasking of sending those thousands of photos you’ll be taking wherevr you want them. No need to manually email friends and peers, telling them where to look for your photos. The ubiquity of smartphones means more photos can be uploaded from the Flickr app and make them available to everyone.

Two things bothered me about the old Flickr. First was their unnecessary image adjustments. Any image uploaded received a heavy-handed dose of post-processing—extra sharpening, contrast, and saturation were applied gratuitously. The second thing was the archaic layout which resembled a wireframe on steroids more than a finished design. Too much white space and clumsy navigation hampered the user experience.

These issues are largely addressed in the refreshed design and make using the new Flickr noticeably more enjoyable than the Flickr of old. Issues persist, though, as evidenced in the outcry long-time users are voicing. Let’s see how those concerns are handled going forward.

I’ve already decided to give Instagram a try, now Flickr has piqued my interest again. Biggr, Spectaculr, and Wherevr are enticing. I like it. I like it a lot.

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