|Type of site||Photo/Video hosting service|
|Available language(s)||Chinese (traditional)
|Alexa rank||73 (April 2013[update])|
Flickr (stylized as flickr) is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community that was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Yahoo reported in June 2011 that Flickr had a total of 51 million registered members and 80 million unique visitors. In August 2011 the site reported that it was hosting more than 6 billion images and this number continues to grow steadily according to reporting sources. Photos and videos can be accessed from Flickr without the need to register an account but an account must be made in order to upload content onto the website. Registering an account also allows users to create a profile page containing photos and videos that the user has uploaded and also grants the ability to add another Flickr user as a contact. For mobile users, Flickr has an official mobile app for iOS, Android, PlayStation Vita, and Windows Phone operating systems.
Flickr was launched in February 2004 by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. The service emerged out of tools originally created for Ludicorp's Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project, and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved; however, Butterfield has since launched an online game of similar intent, but it is being closed as well.
Early versions of Flickr focused on a multiuser chat room called FlickrLive with real-time photo exchange capabilities. The successive evolutions focused more on the uploading and filing backend for individual users and the chat room was buried in the site map. It was eventually dropped as Flickr's backend systems evolved away from the Game Neverending's codebase.
Yahoo! acquired Ludicorp and Flickr in March 2005. The reported acquisition cost was $35 million. During the week of 26 June – 2 July 2005, all content was migrated from servers in Canada to servers in the United States, resulting in all data becoming subject to United States federal law.
On 16 May 2006, Flickr updated its services from beta to "gamma", along with a design and structural overhaul. According to the site's FAQ, the term "gamma", rarely used in software development, is intended to be tongue-in-cheek to indicate that the service is always being tested by its users, and is in a state of perpetual improvement. A further connotation, more specific to photography and the display of images, is that of gamma correction. The current service is considered a stable release.
In December 2006, upload limits on free accounts were increased to 100 MB a month (from 20 MB) and were removed from Pro Accounts, permitting unlimited uploads for holders of these accounts (originally a 2 GB per month limit).
In January 2007, Flickr announced that "Old Skool" members—those who had joined before the Yahoo acquisition—would be required to associate their account with a Yahoo ID by 15 March to continue using the service. This move was criticized by some users.
On 9 April 2008, Flickr began allowing paid subscribers to upload videos, limited to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB in size. On 2 March 2009, Flickr added the facility to upload and view HD videos, and began allowing free users to upload normal-resolution video. At the same time, the set limit for free accounts was lifted.
In May 2009, White House official photographer Pete Souza began using Flickr as a conduit for releasing White House photos. The photos were initially posted with a Creative Commons Attribution license requiring that the original photographers be credited. Flickr later created a new license which identified them as "United States Government Work", which does not carry any copyright restrictions. The photos are posted with this disclaimer: "This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."
On 20 May 2013 Flickr unveiled a redesigned layout and additional features, including 1 terabyte of free storage for all users, seamless photostream, cover photo and updated Android App. Tech Radar described users' response to the redesign and new pricing structure as "overwhelmingly negative", saying that although such responses are common, the new style Flickr represented a "sea change" in its purpose.
Yahoo! Photos 
Yahoo! Photos had unlimited storage for photos, but it was required that photos have the jpeg/jpg extension. Users were able to create individual photo albums, categorize their photos and place them in the corresponding albums. Users were also able to set access of their albums by publishing them for the viewing pleasure of everyone, disabling access, or marking them as private folders for their own viewing. In an effort to make it simpler and more efficient, Yahoo had an uploader tool to drag and drop the pictures from one's computer to Yahoo! Photos web page. In March 2005 Yahoo! purchased Flickr, and in May 2007 announced that Yahoo! Photos would be closed down on 20 September 2007 at 9 pm PDT, after which all photos would be deleted. During the interim, users had the ability to migrate their photos to Flickr or other services (including Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, and Photobucket). All who migrated to Flickr were given three months of a Flickr Pro account.
On 16 June 2007, Yahoo! Photos issued a press release stating that its service would end on 20 September, in order to focus the company's efforts on Flickr.
- March 2000: Yahoo! Photos launched
- February 2004: Flickr launched
- 29 March 2005: Yahoo bought Flickr (and the company which launched it)
- 14 January 2007: Yahoo! Photos updated its site with new features, including free full-resolution downloads from ISPs that have partnerships with Yahoo
- 3 May 2007: An informal announcement was made that Yahoo! Photo would be ended
- June 2007: Yahoo! photos ceased to accept new accounts or allow users to upload photos
- 20 September 2007: Yahoo! Photos shuts down. Users in India were terminated on 18 October; users in Australia were terminated on 19 October. Users could follow a link to transfer their photos to one of five providers automatically: Flickr, Shutterfly, Photobucket, Snapfish, or Kodak Gallery.
- 18–19 October 2007: Yahoo! Photos shut down for Indian and Australian users and all photos and accounts were deleted.
Corporate changes 
In June 2008, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield announced his resignation following his wife and co-founder Caterina Fake, who left the company on 13 June 2008. Butterfield wrote a humorous resignation letter to Brad Garlinghouse in which he stated that he was an old tin man in a new age.
Flickr currently offers three types of accounts; Free, Ad Free, and Doublr. The free option includes 1 Terabyte of storage limited to 200MB per photo and 1GB per video. The Ad Free option allows subscribers to avoid adverts for an annual fee. As the name suggestes the Doublr account includes two Terabytes of storage.
Flickr used to offer two types of accounts, Free and Pro. Free account users were allowed to upload 300 MB of images and two videos per month. If a free user has more than 200 photos on the site, they were only be able to see the most recent 200 in their photostream. The other photos that were uploaded are still stored on the site and links to these images in blog posts remain active. Free users could also contribute any of their photos to a maximum of 10 photo pools. If a free account was inactive for 90 consecutive days, Flickr reserved the right to delete it. For a free account, no one (including the account owner) could access the original file. If the account is upgraded to a pro account, then the original files were available for download.
Pro accounts allowed users to upload an unlimited number of images and videos every month and receive unlimited bandwidth and storage. Photos may be placed in up to 60 group pools, and Pro account users receive ad-free browsing and have access to account statistics. As soon as a Pro account expires, it reverts to the restrictions of a free account, including Flickr's right to delete an account that is "inactive for 90 consecutive days". Flickr may delete a Pro account without giving any reason or warning to the account's owner.
Groups can be started by any member of Flickr. The creator of the Flickr group has the ability to monitor and set restrictions for the group. Groups are used as a way to communicate with fellow members of Flickr around common photography interests. By choosing to follow groups, recent uploads of the group will sometimes appear on a user's homepage when they log on.
Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags (a form of metadata), which enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter. Flickr was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords. Because of its support for tags, Flickr has been cited as a prime example of effective use of folksonomy, although Thomas Vander Wal suggested that Flickr is not the best example.
Flickr also enables users to organize their photos into "sets", or groups of photos that fall under the same heading. Sets can be displayed as a slideshow and shared by embedding them in websites. However, sets are more flexible than the traditional folder-based method of organizing files, as one photo can belong to one set, many sets, or none at all. Flickr's "sets" represent a form of categorical metadata rather than a physical hierarchy. Geotagging can be applied to photos in set. Any sets with geotagging can be related to a map using imapflicker. The resulting map can be embedded in a website. Sets may be grouped into "collections", and collections further grouped into higher-order collections.
Flickr offers a fairly comprehensive web-service API that enables programmers to create applications that can perform almost any function that a user on the Flickr site can do.
Organizr is a web application for organizing photos within a Flickr account that can be accessed through the Flickr interface. It allows users to modify tags, descriptions, and set groupings, and to place photos on a world map (a feature provided in conjunction with Yahoo! Maps). It uses Ajax to emulate the look, feel, and quick functionality of desktop-based photo-management applications, such as Google's Picasa and F-Spot. Users can select and apply changes to multiple photos at a time, making it a better tool for batch editing than the standard Flickr interface.
Flickr had a partnership with the Picnik online photo-editing application that included a reduced-feature version of Picnik built into Flickr as a default photo editor. From Thursday 5 April 2012, Flickr has replaced Picnik with Aviary as its default photo editor.
Access control 
Flickr provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private. Private images are visible by default only to the uploader, but they can also be marked as viewable by friends and/or family. Privacy settings also can be decided by adding photographs from a user's photostream to a "group pool". If a group is private all the members of that group can see the photo. If a group is public the photo becomes public as well. Flickr also provides a "contact list" which can be used to control image access for a specific set of users in a way similar to that of LiveJournal.
In November 2006, Flickr created a "guest pass" system that allows private photos to be shared with non-Flickr members. A person could e-mail this pass to parents who may not have an account to allow them to see the photos otherwise restricted from public view. This setting allows sets to be shared, or all photos under a certain privacy category (friends or family) to be shared.
Many members allow their photos to be viewed by anyone, forming a large collaborative database of categorized photos. By default, other members can leave comments about any image they have permission to view, and in many cases can add to the list of tags associated with an image.
Interaction and compatibility 
Flickr's functionality includes RSS and Atom feeds and an API that enables independent programmers to expand its services. This includes a large number of third-party Greasemonkey scripts which enhance and extend the functionality of the Flickr site. In 2006 Flickr was the second most Greasemonkey-extended site.
The core functionality of the site relies on standard HTML and HTTP features, allowing for wide compatibility among platforms and browsers. Organizr uses Ajax, with which most modern browsers are compliant, and most of Flickr's other text-editing and tagging interfaces also possess Ajax functionality.
Images can be posted to the user's photostream via email attachments, enabling direct uploads from many cameraphones and applications with email capabilities.
Flickr has been adopted by many web users as their primary photo storage site, especially members of the blogging community. In addition, it is popular with Macintosh and Linux users, who are locked out of photo-sharing sites that require Windows and Internet Explorer.
|Stable release||3.2.1 / 11 June 2009|
|Operating system||Mac OS X, Windows 7, Vista & XP|
Flickr has entered into partnerships with third parties to offer printing of various forms of merchandise, including business cards, photo books, stationery, personalized credit cards, and large-size prints, from companies such as Moo, Blurb, Tiny Prints, Capital One, Imagekind, and QOOP. In addition, Flickr has partnered with Getty Images to sell stock photos from some users.
Users of Windows Photo Gallery, Apple's iPhoto (version 8), Adobe's Lightroom 3.2, Apple's Aperture (version 3.0), and darktable have the ability to upload their photos directly to Flickr. They can also automatically update their status on other Social networking service when they upload their images to Flickr. The in-house service uses Yahoo!'s Updates platform to achieve this. However, the service doesn't handle Facebook's long-life access tokens appropriately, failing silently on stale tokens and preventing sharing functionality as a result. Other services have been developed to fix this issue using Flickr's extensive API.
Flickr provides a desktop client for Mac OS X and Windows that allows users to upload photos without using the web interface. Uploadr allows drag-and-drop batch uploading of photos, the setting of tags and descriptions for each batch, and the editing of privacy settings.
In March 2007, Flickr added new content filtering controls that let members specify by default what types of images they generally upload (photo, art/illustration, or screenshot) and how "safe" (i.e., unlikely to offend others) their images are, as well as specify that information for specific images individually. In addition, users can specify the same criteria when searching for images. There are some restrictions on searches for certain types of users: non-members must always use SafeSearch, which omits images noted as potentially offensive, while members whose Yahoo! accounts indicate that they are underage may use SafeSearch or moderate SafeSearch, but cannot turn SafeSearch off completely.
Flickr has since used this setting to change the level of accessibility to "unsafe" content for entire nations, including South Korea, Hong Kong, and Germany. In summer 2007, German users staged a "revolt" over being assigned to the user rights of a minor. See Censorship below.
Flickr offers users the ability to either release their images under certain common usage licenses or label them as "all rights reserved". The licensing options primarily include the Creative Commons 2.0 attribution-based and minor content-control licenses – although jurisdiction and version-specific licenses cannot be selected. As with "tags", the site allows easy searching of only those images that fall under a specific license.
Map sources 
In addition to using commercial mapping data, Flickr now uses OpenStreetMap mapping for various cities; this began with Beijing during the run-up to the 2008 Olympic games. As of October 2008[update], this is used for Baghdad, Beijing, Kabul, Sydney, and Tokyo. OpenStreetMap data is collected by volunteers and is available under the Open Database License
Account-undelete option 
In May 2011, Flickr added an option to easily reverse an account termination. This action was motivated by a very public accidental deletion of a Flickr user's account, and its very protracted restoration.
According to the company, as of August 2009[update] Flickr is hosted on 62 databases across 124 servers, with about 800,000 user accounts per pair of servers. Based on information compiled by highscalability.com, as of November 2007[update] the MySQL databases are hosted on servers that are Linux-based (from Red Hat), with a software platform that includes Apache, PHP (with PEAR and Smarty), shards, Memcached, Squid, Perl, ImageMagick, and Java; the system administration tools include Ganglia, SystemImager, Subcon, and CVSup.
On 12 June 2007, in the wake of the rollout of localized language versions of the site, Flickr implemented a user-side rating system for filtering out potentially controversial photos. Simultaneously, users with accounts registered with Yahoo subsidiaries in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea were prevented from viewing photos rated "moderate" or "restricted" on the three-part scale used. Many Flickr users, particularly in Germany, protested against the new restrictions, claiming unwanted censorship from Flickr and Yahoo.
Flickr management, unwilling to go into legal details, implied that the reason for the stringent filtering was some unusually strict age-verification laws in Germany. The issue received attention in the German national media, especially in online publications. Initial reports indicated that Flickr's action was a sensible, if unattractive, precaution against prosecution, although later coverage implied that Flickr's action may have been unnecessarily strict.
On 20 June 2007, Flickr reacted by granting German users access to "moderate" (but not "restricted") images, and hinted at a future solution for Germany, involving advanced age-verification procedures.
Virgin Mobile ad copyright 
In 2007, Virgin Mobile launched a bus stop advertising campaign which promoted its cellphone text messaging service using the work of amateur photographers who uploaded their work to Flickr using a Creative Commons by Attribution license. Users licensing their images this way freed their work for use by any other entity, as long as the original creator was attributed credit, without any other compensation being required. Virgin upheld this single restriction by printing a URL, leading to the photographer's Flickr page, on each of their ads. However, one picture depicted 15-year-old Alison Chang at a fund-raising carwash for her church, for which Chang sued Virgin Mobile and Creative Commons. The photo was taken by Alison's church youth counsellor, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, who uploaded the image to Flickr under the Creative Commons license.
The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.
On 27 November 2007, Chang filed for a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit against Creative Commons, focusing their lawsuit against Virgin Mobile. The case was thrown out of court due to lack of jurisdiction and subsequently Virgin Mobile did not incur any damages towards the defendant.
DMCA copyright implementation 
Flickr has been criticised for its heavy-handed implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Under the DMCA a service provider such as Flickr is obliged to delete or disable access to content as soon as they receive an official notice of infringement in order to maintain protection from liability. After having one of his own pictures taken down following an incorrect DMCA claim, comedian Dave Gorman researched the issue and concluded that Flickr has two ways of responding to such an issue. If the Flickr user is not based in America – or they are but the person filing the notice of infringement is not – Flickr deletes the disputed content immediately. Even if the user is able to successfully demonstrate that the content was not infringing any copyright, Flickr does not, according to Gorman, replace the deleted content. He argues that this is contrary to their obligations in responding to a DMCA counter-notice.
2013 redesign 
On 20 May 2013, Yahoo unveiled a major reconstruction of the website, changing the look and layout of the site, giving all users 1TB of storage and doubling the subscription price of a 'Pro Account'. The Pro Account's benefits were reduced to only Ad-Free browsing.  Flickr is used by many professional photographers, and Tech Radar suggested that Yahoo may have been changing the site's focus to a more mass-market audience. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said upon the announcement of the new Flickr: "“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."  CNET reported that "Flickr users don't seem too happy about the new layout, at least according to a heavy dose of comments posted on the site's help forum." 
The Commons 
Several museums and archives post images released under a "no known restrictions" license, which was first made available on 16 January 2008. The goal of the license is to "firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer." Participants include Powerhouse Museum, George Eastman House, Library of Congress, Brooklyn Museum, Nationaal Archief, National Archives and Records Administration, National Library of Scotland, State Library of New South Wales, and Smithsonian Institution.
Getty Images 
In 2009, Flickr announced a partnership with Getty Images in which selected users could submit photographs for stock photography usage and receive payment. In 2010, this was changed so that users could label images as suitable for stock use themselves.
See also 
- Image hosting service
- List of photo sharing websites
- List of social networking websites
- Photo sharing
- User-generated content
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