Given the increasingly fickle nature of the Internet, what was hot and innovative today could just as easily be old and tired tomorrow. Maybe that’s why Zuck and the team at Facebook revamp that social network every few months. And while Flickr used to be the place to host and share your photos, the site has fallen in popularity in the last couple of years. So, they completely revamped not only how the site looks, but also how it works and what you need to pay for. At the same time, a lot of it is also staying the same.
All of the new Flickr changes can feel a little overwhelming at first. Some people love them and other people hate them. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether the new Flickr is for you, but just as we did with Google Keep, we thought it’d be apt to run through some of the most important changes and new features with the updated Flickr.
A Dramatic Redesign
The first and most obvious change is the complete redesign of the Flickr website. For reference, here’s what my photostream looked like before all the changes.
As you can see, there was a lot of white space and the image thumbnails were relatively small, but quite a bit of the image details were clearly visible from the photostream page. You can see the titles, descriptions, comments, CC license, date, and so forth. While useful, the design did feel awfully dated.
And here is what my Flickr photostream looks like now. The white space is virtually non-existent, there’s a “cover image” at the top that looks a lot like what we have with Facebook and Google+, and the thumbnails are a lot larger. However, the image details are largely not available; when you hover, you only get the title. When you click through to the image page itself, the image is drastically larger, taking up almost the entire “above the fold” space. The details are located underneath.
The main Flickr page, after you’ve logged into your account, is quite different too. There’s much of a social element here, as the recent uploads from your Flickr contacts are shown in an endless scroll. Again, the white space is minimal. The overall feel is perhaps closer to a Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram than the old Flickr.
The New Flickr Mobile App
Not surprisingly, the mobile app was also updated to mirror the look and feel of the new Flickr website. The thumbnails are bigger, the white space has disappeared, and the key navigation is now a menu pulled in from the left side. It’s clear that Flickr is moving toward making the pictures front and center in a very social media kind of way, pushing the other data into a secondary status.
Old Flickr Pro vs. New Flickr Free Accounts
The visual style in the new Flickr is certainly a very dramatic change from the outgoing design, but perhaps the more important change comes in the way that accounts are handled.
The old Flickr Pro subscription will continue to be offered to existing members, but it will not be sold to anyone new. That’s because the “new” Flickr free account is drastically more robust than the old free account. Whereas the old account limited you to just 200 photos, the new free account gives you 1TB of storage. You also get to upload photos as large as 200MB (old limit was 30MB) and 1080p videos up to 1GB in size (old limit was 2 videos total). Free accounts also gain access to full resolution uploads.
Given this, you might be wondering whether it’s still worth paying $25 a year to renew the “old” Flickr Pro. The key advantages there are the unlimited storage, the ad-free experience, and the access to detailed statistics. That being said, with 1TB of storage and larger maximum file size allowances, many users may find the new free Flickr account to be perfectly adequate. This is a one-time decision. Should you choose to opt out of the old Pro account, you will never be able to opt back in. Instead, Flickr has replaced the old Pro account with a $50/year service to remove ads and a $500/year service to get 2TB of storage capacity.
The new Flickr seems to be squarely targeted at the more casual photography crowd epitomized by Tumblr and Instagram. Will this drive the more professional photographers away to alternative services like 500px? Time will tell.
Image credit: poolie / Flickr