Yahoo buys iOS photography shop to improve Flickr

GhostBird Software's camera apps will live on in spirit as Yahoo plans to incorporate mobile photo features from KitCam and PhotoForge2.

Yahoo unveiled a dramatic makeover for Flickr at a New York press event in late May. Sarah Tew/CNET

In a maneuver to improve Flickr, Yahoo has purchased GhostBird Software, makers of iOS camera apps, for an undisclosed sum. The buy comes less than a month after the media titan released an overhauled version of its photo service that wasn't greeted with the warmest of welcomes.

Yahoo announced the acquisition with a tweet Wednesday and told Flickr users to expect to see their mobile photos in "a whole new light." App creators Travis Houlette and Ye Lu are joining the Flickr team in San Francisco, a Yahoo spokesperson told CNET.

GhostBird Software is the 4-year-old development shop behind KitCam and PhotoForge2, two iOS camera applications for adding effects and editing photos. With the sell-off, the applications have been removed from the App Store, though people can continue to use the apps if they've already downloaded them.

The photo and video-editing apps will also continue to live on in spirit. Flickr plans to integrate many of the mobile photography experiences into its apps, the spokesperson said.

Yahoo's buy, though small compared with its $1.1 billion takeover of Tumblr , reflects the media company's desire to return Flickr to its glory days as the Internet's most-beloved photo-sharing service. After a panned relaunch last month, Yahoo still has plenty of work to do.


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