Flickr revamp spotlights photos, social features

Yahoo is trying to improve how people can use its Flickr photo-sharing site with a home page revamp. Next up: better photo pages, too.

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Yahoo's redesigned Flickr page
The redesigned Flickr shows more photos and, through a 'recent activity' tab, more social interactions. (Click to enlarge.) Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Yahoo on Wednesday started offering Flickr users a new home page for the photo-sharing site that's designed to show off more images and make it easier for people to use the site's social features.

Many people just use Flickr to store and share their own photos, but the site also has social features including groups where like-minded people can share photos, a contacts list to share with particular friends, and comments that can lead to a discussion thread. Much of the redesign aims to spotlight these social features, making them more visible and easier to use, said Kakul Srivastava, Flickr's new general manager.

"What we wanted to be able to do is make the home page more engaging, useful, and efficient for advanced users who have hundreds and sometimes thousands of contacts and who upload and log into Flickr several times a day (and for) our newest members who are trying to figure out how to engage with Flickr," Srivastava said. The change also is part of the Yahoo Open Strategy, which is geared in part to "light up" Yahoo users' online social activity.

The redesigned page displays more photos, both from the Flickr member and from his or her contacts. And it adds photos from Flickr groups to which the member belongs, said Matthew Rothenberg, director of product management.

Flickr's 'recent activity' tab
Flickr's home page now features a 'recent activity' tab that lets people interact more quickly with others on the photo-sharing site. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Another big change is a "recent activity" tab that displays new comments on a member's photos, notices that others have made the member a contact, and other social events.

The change is available now to people who opt for it, but it will become standard for all users in coming weeks, Srivastava said.

Yahoo described the change on its Flickr blog--which, by the way, is now featured on the new home page to spotlight news regarding the site.

Update 4:30 p.m. PDT: Yahoo has gradually added various features to Flickr, including video. But this change is about improving basic parts of Flickr that haven't been changed in a much longer time, Srivastava said.

"This is not about adding new features, it's about reducing the number of clicks of many of our most important core features," she said. As long as a user has a fast network, the new pages load faster, though those with a slow dial-up connection might be constrained since more photos show on the home page, she added.

It doesn't change another core part of Flickr, though, the pages that house each photograph. That will be changed in a future update, she added.

"It's definitely on our roadmap to improve that page," she said.

Flickr currently has more than 30 million registered users, 3 billion page views per month, and 60 million unique users per month, she said.