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Flickr's 3 billionth photo: DSC_2672_1

In less than a year, Yahoo's photo-sharing site grew from 2 billion to 3 billion images. A black-and-white door shot uploaded Monday pushed Flickr past the new milestone.

The 3 billionth photo at Flickr is this shot of a door on an abandoned house in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.
The 3 billionth photo at Flickr is this shot of a door on an abandoned house in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Garrett Ryan Smith

I've always been annoyed by the significance we humans attach to numeric milestones just because they happen to involve a lot of zeros.

But 3 billion--the number of photos now housed at Flickr--is undoubtedly a big number, even if its intrinsic excitement diminishes when, for example, translated into octal as 26,264,057,000. It's also more notable when you consider that Flickr's 2 billionth shot arrived less than a year ago.

The 3 billionth photo, with the title camera-supplied name of DSC_2672_1, is a black-and-white shot of a door by Garrett Ryan Smith. (But if it's the 3 billionth, how come the number in the photo's URL is 2,999,245,289?)

Of course, Facebook has more than 10 billion photos. But while that site has a lot of social activity, it's not the haven for photography enthusiasts that Flickr has become. At the Yahoo site, many join groups of like-minded photographers, comment on each other's shots, and share advice on forums.

Flickr noted the milestone on its Flickr blog on Monday.

Update 8:55 p.m. PST: I heard back from Smith, and those of you longtime Flickr loyalists hoping to achieve some sort of immortality through getting the 3 billionth photo may be distressed to hear you were beaten out by a newbie who was looking for a place to share some pictures.

"I have been using Flickr for less than a week now," he said. "My future sister-in law had her first child last week I had my camera with me and took a round of photos...We figured this would be a good way to share the photos with everyone across the United States and also with a family friend serving overseas."

The shot itself is of a door on an abandoned house in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, he said.

"Since Katrina hit I have been back to New Orleans numerous times and still cannot believe what it looks like three years later, especially in the Lower Ninth Ward area," he said.

Editor's note, 3:02 p.m. PST: It appears there are two URLs for the same shot, the one noted above, and this one, with the appropriate 3,000,000,000 at the end.