Yahoo wants to make Flickr 'awesome again'

The online company now offers users 1TB of storage for free and allows users to upload full resolution images.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer kicks off the Flickr event Monday in New York. Sarah Tew/CNET

NEW YORK -- Yahoo on Monday unveiled updates to its Flickr photo-sharing site that the company hopes will make Flickr "awesome again."

Among the changes are a new redesign with larger images, the ability for users to upload full-resolution photos, and 1TB of free storage for all users. Yahoo also launched a redesigned Android app for smartphones and tablets, which goes along with the recently revamped iOS app. The changes are available immediately, an executive said.

"The look and feel here is about photos and being unbounded," CEO Marissa Mayer said Monday. "That's what Flickr is about...Photos make the world go round. We want to make Flickr awesome again."

The company detailed the changes during a press event Monday in New York's Times Square area. In attendance with Mayer was NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Tumblr CEO David Karp. Yahoo on Monday revealed it has reached a deal to buy Tumblr.

The Tumblr acquisition and changes to Flickr come as Mayer boosts Yahoo's focus on mobility and attracting a younger audience. It's vital for Yahoo to adapt to the changing world to compete with rivals such as Google and remain relevant for users.

Flickr was a Web 2.0 darling for photo sharing, though it was slow to adjust as consumers began taking more and more photos on their smartphones. By comparison, Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion , continues to generate more buzz, particularly among the highly coveted youth demographic, and only works through iOS and Android devices. Flickr has tried to make up ground by overhauling its mobile application with filters and other editing tools.

Yahoo last month advertised on its site for an iOS mobile developer for Flickr. In its post, Yahoo said "there's a tremendously long list of new features, programs, and technologies set to come online this year" for Flickr.

Adam Cahan, senior vice president of mobile and emerging products at Yahoo, said Monday that Flickr today reaches 89 million people, who have contributed 8 billion photos to the site. He expects 881.4 billion photographs to be taken in 2014.

Meanwhile, Yahoo earlier Monday confirmed reports that it will pay $1.1 billion for Tumblr. The company said Tumblr, which has more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, will operate as a separate entity. Its founder and CEO, David Karp, will remain in his position.

Yahoo didn't say specifically what it has planned for Tumblr but did note that the service's more than 50 billion blog posts are valuable additions to Yahoo's services and search. Having Tumblr under its umbrella should help Yahoo attract a younger, hipper demographic, as well as boost Yahoo's operations in social networking.

Mayer on Monday again vowed not to mess up the Tumblr acquisition and allow the blogging site to operate as an independent company. Karp sat slumped in the front row during the presentation, while Mayor Bloomberg also touted Tumblr's success.

Mayer also said Yahoo has signed a lease on a new office in New York, at 229 W. 43rd St. The company will consolidate all of its 500 New York-based employees into the office, and it has room for 200 more future hires.

Yahoo hosts a Flickr event Monday in New York. Shara Tibken/CNET

Updated at 2:40 p.m. PT with additional details and quotes.

 

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