What is Flickr?

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by Barbara J. Feldman on December 3, 2008

Photo sharing software is a popular way to pass on your treasured photos to your friends and family. Flickr is one of the most popular online photo management sharing applications in the world. Flickr was launched in February 2004 by Ludicorp and quickly became the world’s most popular repository of images and photographs.

Flickr was one of the earliest Web 2.0 applications available. Flickr is not only popular for sharing personal photographs, but the recent blogging community has started using Flickr as a photo repository. As of November 2007, Flickr hosts more than 2 billion images and is fueled by its organizational tools.

The early versions of Flickr included a multiuser chat room called FlickrLive with real-time photo exchange capabilities. Flickr also focused on collecting images on the web instead of by its users. Eventually the chat room idea was abandoned and Flickr began focusing on its members.

In the beginning, many of the key elements of Flickr were not available. Some of these key features included tags, marking photos as favorites, group photo pools and a patent pending notice.

Yahoo purchased Flickr in 2005. By 2006, Flickr was updated from beta to gamma and had a complete design overhaul. The upload sizes on individual accounts were also increased from 20MB to 100MB. In 2008, Flickr allowed its paid subscribers to upload videos that are limited to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB in size.

Flickr allows photo submitters to organize images using tags. Members are able to find images concerning a certain topic like place name or subject matter. Users can organize their photos into sets or groups of photos that fall under the same heading. Many of the sets are flexible for members to organize the photos with. The sets may be grouped into collections and grouped even further into high-order collections.

Another key element of Flickr is the private and public image storage. A user who is uploading an image can set privacy controls to determine who can view the image. The photos you upload can be set as public or private. The private images are only visable to the uploader, but can later be marked as viewable to family and friends. The privacy settings are decided by adding photographs from your photostream to your group pool. The group can be set to private or public by the group creator. If the group is set to public, the photo becomes public as well.

Flickr also has a guest pass system that allows private photos to be shared with non Flickr members. This means a person can email this pass to friends and family who may not have a pass and allow them to access an account to see the photos that are typically restricted from public view. Flickr also has content filtering controls that allow members to default what types of images they upload. You are also to mark how “safe” your photos are by stating if you think they will offend others or not. The same critera can be applied to photos when you are doing a search. Non members must always use the SafeSearch feature as it omits images that are noted as potentially offensive. Yahoo will also flag underage users accounts from being able to turn off SafeSearch.

Most members of Flickr allow their images to be viewed by anyone, thereby forming a large collaborative database of categorized photos. Other members are able to leave comments about the photos they have permission to view and they can even add to the list of tags that is associated with the image. With all the tools available, it is no wonder why Flickr is one of the largest online photo sharing programs available.


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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "What is Flickr?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 3 Dec. 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/502/what-is-flickr/ >.