Yahoo Buys Flickr

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The first time I used Flickr, I knew it was something different and something important.

It took me a while to figure out and try to articulate exactly what that was, but I took my first swipe back in September when I called it a Next Generation Web Service. In that posting, I said:

Flickr has been on my radar for a while now, but I only recently began to start playing with it. I’m impressed as hell. After my first 10 minutes of playing with it, I found myself thinking “why don’t we build stuff like this at Yahoo?” In other words, I realized that we could probably learn a lot from this when it comes to building next generation applications at Yahoo. (Whether or not we do is a whole separate topic of discussion.)

Flickr has the potential to set the new standard for on-line photo sharing, management, etc. Why? Because Flickr…

  1. does one thing and does it well
  2. provides a clean and simple UI
  3. has clear and helpful documentation
  4. exposes core functionality with a documented API
  5. account sign up is brain-dead simple
  6. makes extensive and intuitive use of RSS
  7. like del.icio.us, uses tags to help organize
  8. doens’t spam me with graphical/animated/flash ads or try to unexpectedly pop up any sort of window

In other words, it’s developer friendly, user friendly, and is a web site as well as a “service” or “platform” (in the Web 2.0 sense) all at the same time.

It was around that time that I jokingly responded to every mention of Flickr at the office with “you know, we should buy them…” And I was only half joking.

Be careful what you wish for, right? :-)

Since then a lot has happened and I’ve had the chance to meet the Flickr team a few times. That has only convinced me even more that they have what it takes to really change things. Combining their mix of tagging, communities, syndication, open APIs, and interactive UI with Yahoo’s services and millions of users will lead to even more great stuff.

As Caterina wrote, this isn’t about just throwing millions of users at Flickr or bolting Flickr onto Yahoo! Photos. Think more deeply about it. There are many parts of Yahoo that will be Flickrized in the coming months. And with more resources available, Flickr itself will be able to grow like never before.

Personally, I can’t wait. I’ve been really excited by the potential here for a while now. And I don’t mean the sort of “excited” people say when they’re expected to say it. If only you could ask the people around here that I’ve been taking to in recent weeks.

It’s such a relief to be able to talk openly about this. There’s obviously more good stuff in the works. For starters, just think about how we could Flickrize Yahoo! 360 (and it’s not even out yet!). Oh, and I can finally stop pretending I don’t know what my friends are talking about when they ask if there’s something going on between the two companies!

Sorry, Adam. You guessed wrong on this one.
To the Flickr Team

Congrats and welcome to the Yahoo family. It’s a big one but you’re going to be a very big part of it. You have a lot of fans here–probably even more after today. :-)

The next few months are probably going to be crazy. But if any of you have questions about Yahoo or just want to grab lunch at URL’s, give me a call/email/IM. I’ll do anything I can to help.

You guys rock.

  • Yahoo actually does acquire Flickr (Caterina’s announcement on the Flickr blog)
  • Next Generation Web Services: Flickr (when I first started writing about Flickr)
  • More to come…

    Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

    Visit Jeremy’s blog: Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

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