Yahoo has just given Flickr its biggest makeover to date. Users of the photo-sharing behemoth now get a terabyte of free storage space, and the whole site has been given an updated image-centric look and feel. Other changes include the ability to upload larger images or videos, and new account options.
Back in the day (well, 2005) Flickr was the darling of photo-sharing websites. But in recent years it's become stale and has faced increased competition from the likes of 500px, and that's before you consider the impact of Facebook and Instagram. The site needed to become relevant again, this time for a world of retina screens and connected devices.
So, hot on the deals of its Tumblr acquisition, Yahoo decided to roll out some much-overdue changes to the old man of photo-sharing. This included the headline attraction that is a gargantuan 1TB storage for users, and a redesigned user interface which puts high-resolution images and sharing central to the new Flickr experience. A new Flickr app for Android devices was also revealed.
The terabyte of storage which is now offered is undoubtedly the main attraction of the new Flickr. It dwarfs the limits of pretty much all other photo sharing sites, and Flickr boasts it's enough to store 537,731 images at 6.5 megapixels. Obviously, using a camera with more megapixels, this is reduced – but at 16 megapixels it's still 218,000 images. Even if you're shooting with a 36-megapixel camera like a Nikon D800, it's around 65,000 full-resolution images. Should 1TB not be enough, a new Doublr account gives 2TB of photo and video space … but costs US$499.99.
Other important numbers that have got bigger (or "biggr" as Flickr annoyingly likes to say) include the size of each image that can be uploaded (now 200MB, from 50MB for Pro users and 30MB for Free users), and the amount which can be uploaded each month (now unlimited for everyone, where Free users were previously limited 300MB). The size of videos allowed has also increased to 1GB 1080p HD files, and they can now run to three minutes each, whereas previously they were limited to 90 seconds. All images can be uploaded and downloaded in their full original quality.
It's not just these numbers which have changed, however, as the whole Flickr site has been redesigned with much more focus on the photographs. Users will instantly notice images everywhere are bigger, and the vast white spaces which used to dominate pages have gone. Much less emphasis is now placed on text and other information like maps of where photos were taken.
Sharing options have been given a boost, and images can easily be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Tumblr from either an image page, or direct from a new-look homepage. These homepages now feature a customizable cover photo and combine your friends’ recent uploads with activity on your own photos. Photostreams now look more like the iOS app, with images displayed in a seamless grid layout, while Sets pages are equally image-packed. A new slideshow mode has also been added with smooth transitions and facial detection technology to make sure the key points are highlighted.
Another big change for Flickr is the new account options. Users can no longer sign up for Pro accounts (more on that in a minute) and the choice now includes a Free account and an Ad Free account – which has exactly the same benefits as the free version, but with an advert-free browsing experience for a fee of $49.99 per year.
Current Pro members have the option of downgrading to the Free account, or continuing their memberships at the same price they've previously paid ($24.95 every year, or $44.95 every other year). For this they'll continue to get an ad-free Flickr with unlimited storage – but now with the new and increased photo and video size limits. They will also continue to get access to data such as image view counts and referrer statistics.
What do you think of the new Flickr? Let us know in the comments.