10 May 2015

Yahoo! adds innovative search technology to Flickr in latest revamp

Yahoo! has released a number of major updates to Flickr that could herald renewed interest in the photo- and video-sharing platform. The enhancements include a more intelligent search tool and making it easier to access, organise, find and share images and videos across devices in both desktop and mobile versions. The overhaul benefits over 112 million users, including business users, and allows them to manage over 11 billion photos on Flickr more easily. 

“At Flickr, we’ve always dreamed of creating a space where you can store and manage a lifetime’s worth of memories,” says Tim Miller, Head of engineering at Flickr. “Today, we’re taking that one step further as we bring users a brand new set of tools to unlock the power of 1,000 GB of space. These tools coupled with our advanced image recognition technology will give our community the power to not only access those special moments from their iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Android, or on the web, but to uncover the ones that they thought were lost forever.”

Three new significant components of this launch include:

• Uploadrs: Users can upload as many as half a million photos from their desktop, an external hard drive, iPhoto, their mobile phone and more, using Yahoo’s new Uploadr for Mac and Windows and Yahoo’s new Auto-Uploadr for their mobile device. Photos and videos currently on the device or captured as new will be uploaded automatically and marked as private, and duplicates will be removed.

Magic View on my own Flickr stream automatically identified all the pictures of birds as the first major theme in my photography. Themes are displayed in alphabetical order by default.

• Camera Roll in the cloud: Navigate through photos and videos in the new interface, supported by advanced image recognition technology. The dynamic Magic View feature organises a user’s photos automatically across over 60 categories (landscapes, animals, black and white, portraits, etc.). Users can also browse their Camera Roll by date. For the first time, users can bulk download photos and videos or share privately via link, email, Instagram, Facebook and more with one swipe.

A search of flower pictures that I have taken, sorted by orange and/or pink pictures, yielded this selection. The search field is at the top right, and the colours can be chosen by clicking on the colour strip above the pictures. Searches automatically display your own albums, your pictures, and others' pictures.

• Unified search experience: Flickr’s advanced search technology and powerful computer vision algorithms also provide a smarter and faster search experience. Users can search for images of specific items or places, or search by holiday, date or location. Just as easily, users can search for images of the London Eye because now Flickr understands a user’s intent and finds photos of the giant ferris wheel, not just photos of countless eyes taken in London. A user can also filter images by colour, size, and orientation.


Flickr members can enjoy these updates by logging into their Yahoo account at www.flickr.com and updating the app from the App Store or from the Play Store. The desktop Uploadr for Windows and Mac is also available for use.

Corporate Flickr accounts include those from Qatar Airways, TNT and Smith & Nephew. More corporate Flickr accounts are listed in this WorkSmart Asia blog post on a Flickr iPad app.

Those new to Flickr can sign up for a free account, which comes with 1 TB of space (my 68,105 pictures and videos only take up 0.12 TB of space). Although an organisational account is permitted, it cannot be used to sell anything, and the account will belong to the individual who signed up for it. 

Read the best practices for organisations using Flickr.

This January 2015 blog post from the Association of Canadian Archivists describes increases in Flickr statistics after getting some recognition from newspapers.