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Yahoo's Zurfer joins Flickr, mobile phones

Prototype software sends recent images taken in the vicinity of a Flickr member to that person's mobile phone and keeps people up to date with contacts' Flickr photos.

Yahoo Research Berkeley has released prototype mobile phone software called Zurfer that gives people a look at Flickr that's tailored to their particular location.

Zurfer lets mobile phone users interact with Flickr. Yahoo Research Berkeley

The software, which requires a "beefy smart phone," shows photos taken recently in a mobile phone user's vicinity, an example of a so-called location-aware service. The software uses Yahoo's ZoneTag technology to infer location from the cell phone tower to which a user's phone is connected.

Zurfer also lets members perform more traditional Flickr tasks, including seeing contacts' new photos, searching for Flickr photos and accessing a Flickr account. All pictures that are part of a user's Flickr photo stream, called "Photo Wallet," are automatically shown in Zurfer.

Because Zurfer sends lots of photos over the phone's Internet connection, "We recommend that you use an unlimited data plan," Yahoo said. Also: "Beware of roaming costs."

Zurfer is one application based on the nascent "geotagging" concept in which digital photos are labeled with location information such as latitude and longitude.