Flickr's gorgeous redesign: Can 1 terabyte of free data win back users?

Yahoo flexes some muscle following its acquisition of Tumblr

The new Flickr: A welcomed change.
(Image credit: Flickr)

Flickr is back, y'all. The premier photo service of yore just received a very pretty, next-level redesign that aggressively touts high-definition photos front and center.

In addition to the aesthetic facelift — which eliminates a lot of the wasteful white space that used to drape the website — Flickr users now get an unprecedented 1 terabyte of photo space for the ultra-competitive price of absolutely free. (!!!) That works out to about 500,000 high-res selfies at 7MB each.

The fact that New Flickr was unveiled shortly after Yahoo announced a $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr is hardly a coincidence. Prior to CEO Marissa Mayer taking over, Yahoo had something like a reverse Midas-touch when it came to acquisitions, developing a reputatoin for dooming once-great products to obsolescence.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Flickr was once considered the greatest casualty of all. It was more than a wasted opportunity — it was "a complete fuck-up," says Mat Honan at Gizmodo.

Flickr's last best hope is that Yahoo realizes its value and decides to spin it off for a few bucks before both drop down into a final death spiral. But even if that happens, Flickr has a long road ahead of it to relevance. People don't tend to come back to homes they've already abandoned. [Gizmodo]

Mayer, however, has been relentless in her pursuit to reinvent Yahoo as a focused and modern company. In December, for example, Yahoo debuted a beautiful new smartphone app for Flickr that hinted at the service's subsequent redesign on the web.

The new free TB system also obviates the need for Flickr Pro accounts, which gave users extra storage for a fee. As Evan Dashevsky at TechHive notes, "The new Flickr will allow everyone to basically put all their photos for the rest of their lives up on the site."

Indeed, Flickr's new redesign "demonstrates the upside of being acquired by Yahoo," writes Sarah Kessler at Fast Company. In fact, Markus Spiering, Flickr's head of product, tells Fast Co. that Flickr's re-imagining "would not have been possible without Yahoo." (Of course, if Flickr had been properly maintained, a dramatic overhaul would not have been necessary.)

The question now turns to whether or not Flickr can win back the users it's lost over the years to other services. For what it's worth, as someone who just canceled his Smugmug account of five years, I think Flickr's chances are looking pretty good.

Give the new Flickr a try here.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for Previously, he was a tech reporter at TIME. His work has also appeared in Men's Journal, Esquire, and The Atlantic, among other places. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.