I. Technical Background
Flickr (pronounced “flicker”) is an image hosting and video hosting website, and web services suite 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, and effectively an online community, the service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.
The Verge reported in March 2013 that Flickr had a total of 87 million registered members and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded daily. 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 official mobile apps for iOS, Android, PlayStation Vita, and Windows Phone operating systems, and an optimised mobile website.
II. Company Profile
Flickr was launched in February 2004 by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. The service emerged from 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; Butterfield later launched a similar online game, Glitch, which closed down in November 2012.
Early versions of Flickr focused on a 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 Game Neverending‘s codebase. Key features of Flickr not initially present are tags, marking photos as favorites, group photo pools, and interestingness, for which a patent is pending.
Yahoo acquired Ludicorp and Flickr in March 2005. The acquisition reportedly cost $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, and all resulting data become subject to United States federal law. In May 2007, Yahoo announced that Yahoo Photos would close down on 20 September 2007, after which all photos would be deleted; users were encouraged to migrate to Flickr. 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.
Flickr upgraded its services from beta to “gamma” in May 2006; the changes attracted positive attention from Lifehacker. In December 2006, upload limits on free accounts were increased to 100 MB a month (from 20 MB) and were removed from Flickr Pro accounts, which originally had a 2 GB per month limit. 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 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.
On 20 May 2013, Flickr launched the first stage of a major site redesign, introducing a “Justified View” close-spaced photo layout browsed via “infinite scrolling” and adding new features, including one terabyte of free storage for all users, a scrolling home page (mainly of contacts photos and comments) and updated Android app. The Justified View is paginated between 72 and 360 photos per page but unpaginated in search result presentation. Tech Radar described the new style Flickr as representing a “sea change” in its purpose. Many users criticised the changes, and the site’s help forum received thousands of negative comments. In March 2014, Flickr’s New Photo Experience, a user interface redesign, left beta.
III. Significance and Purpose
Flickr’s purpose is for sharing images and short video. That is precisely what it is, because that is what it was created and is marketed for. Yahoo/Flickr dictates the purpose of the site.
However, this doesn’t preclude it being a potentially helpful place, nor for people to use it to get help. Using something ‘not as designed’ doesn’t change what the thing was designed for. So it may become more than one thing through user style and one doesn’t preclude the other.
IV. Conceptual Development and Implementation
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have criticised Flickr 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 if the Flickr user were not based in America – or they were but the person filing the notice of infringement were not – Flickr deleted the disputed content immediately. Even if the user could successfully demonstrate that the content did not infringe upon any copyright, Flickr did not, according to Gorman, replace the deleted content. He argued that this was contrary to their obligations in responding to a DMCA counter-notice. Shortly afterward, Flickr changed their policy.
V. Quality Attributes
Flickr is an excellent resource for developers working on Flickr APIs. From the App Garden to helpful tutorials on the developer blog, their developer site is jam-packed with helpful information for developers.
Today Flickr’s development team details how their latest homepage addition might have bogged down the Yahoo! homepage, had they not worked diligently to prevent that from happening.
VI. Possible Problem
- Their entire flickr streams deleted by flickr without warning. Some of these friends have permanently lost photographs that they had on Flickr that were not backed up. Flickr does not respect user data and can delete your account without warning for items as subjective as your being “that guy” or if they think you are “creepy.” It would be very unsafe to consider Flickr as a backup for your photos.Flickr should reform their practice of deleting accounts without warning and allow users an opportunity to take self corrective action prior to the permanent and irrevocable deletion of their data.What’s even worse about flickr is that there is no “undo” feature when they delete your data. Even if they make a mistake they cannot get your photos back for you. A better way to manage this process would be for Flickr to mark accounts completely private and give people a time period to either appeal a deletion or take self-corrective action to bring their account in line with whatever has upset flickr’s censorship division.
- Cannot log into my flickr account using gmail all day. Searching through the flickr help trying to find some answers and finally found the following on a 2 year old thread.
Sign in to Yahoo! at login.yahoo.com (using the account you normally use to sign in to Flickr.com)2. Go to edit.yahoo.com/config/set_agreement and click the button at the bottom of the page to agree to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
3. Go to
www.flickr.com and sign in.It worked for me but when I try signing out and signing back in I still have the same problem.
VII. Design Specification