With all the Yahoo/Microsoft talk back on the agenda, I was thinking back to the first Microsoft announcement that they wanted to buy yahoo and the reaction on Flickr. Much like when Yahoo bought out Flickr but 10 times worse. People would leave, service will go to rats etc etc etc. Then I watched this video from TED on Photosynth. Jaw dropping. Would a Microsoft take over really be any different for a lot of the Yahoo services?
Loved the developers reaction to the crowd applause in the video too.
Flickr announced some changes to terms and conditions today.
1) All users must now use a Yahoo account to login to Flickr.
2) A limit in the amount of tags has been added – 75 per photo
3) The maximum amount of contacts a user can have is 3000
When I saw the hysterical headlines about Flickr today I thought some hard hitting changes had been implemented. It even made the BBC tech news pages. However dig a little deeper and it’s some changes blown well out of proportion.
1) Yahoo integration with Flickr started a long time ago. I eventually merged my Flickr and Yahoo accounts last year with no problem. The Flickr page stills looks the same and I don’t need to do the ‘Yahoo dance’ when logging in. Is Yahoo a big horrible company – aren’t they all? If I had an issue with privacy at all I’d probably not be using many accounts on the net or indeed sharing my photo’s. I can understand there maybe some kudos with having an old Flickr ID instead of a Yahoo account but does that really matter? Did my photo’s or contacts disappear when I moved – no. In fact my user experience didn’t change at all – it’s something I don’t even think about now.
2) 75 tags is a limit? Who the hell wants 75 tags on one photo. Why? Who’s got the time to put 75 tags on a photo? How does that help to identify and manage photo’s. Some people have too much time on their hands.
3) 3000 contacts also seems a massive amount of contacts to have. Does anyone know 3000 people and want to share private photo’s with them? OK there is one guy on the Flickr forums that has 19000 contacts who he loves and respects. I’m sure they also love the private porn pictures he regularly posts. Not really the target audience for Flickr. I can’t see anyone realistically browsing 3000 users photo’s regularly. Is that not what Flickr groups are for?
Probably most annoying is the vocal minority that this affects and the influence of sites like Digg (I do love Digg but you’ve got to question some of it’s user base and their reporting). Firstly Flickr has around six million users. Don’t know how many are active but the Flickr group Flick Off which is against the forced usage of Yahoo accounts has 1447 members. Not much in the grand scheme of things. The mail that old school folk received today said 95% used a Yahoo account. Yet people in the main forum post that has all the complaints are making comments like 1 million pro folk may leave because they don’t want a Yahoo account. How bizarre. Seeing the Flickr staff respond frequently in these posts impresses me and reassures me all is well.
The Digg post with the most comments was submitted by Thomas Hawk. He didn’t point to the Flickr news page on these changes but to his own blog post. I guess there’s nothing wrong with self publicity or having an opinion as he has posted a lot of content on Flickr…but he is CEO for Zooomr, one of Flickr’s competitors. I’ve posted about Zooomr before and even have a pro account which I got via a give-away last year. The site however is so slow as to be unusable. It’s allegedly down to increased traffic today but I tried it last week to see if there were any improvements and I was disappointedly with it’s speed then. No fear – there’s an upgrade on the way sometime in March. Yeah, right.
I’ll be sticking with Flickr which offers a great service and since the Yahoo merger offers unlimited uploads. It’s also fast and they’ve now added an API which allows export of photo’s and tags if you so wish. Maybe long term there will be other changes which degrade the service as the doom bringers are predicting but something I’ve always felt hasn’t changed for me. Flickr isn’t Yahoo. Thankfully it isn’t Zooomr either.
Yahoo bought Meedio last week and has already released the Meedio Pro software ($45) as a free beta. Meedio is similar to Windows Media Centre or FrontRow in that it groups all your media together in a TV friendly format. Yay! for Yahoo! The bad news is that on start-up it checks to make sure you are located in the US using your IP address so will only work for US users. Boo!
However you can get round the US check and run the software although none of the internet functionality will work. I hope you like purple and blue screens.
Just read on Ricky’s blog that Konfabulator has been bought by Yahoo and is now free. Yippee. Yahoo even. This should give the desktop widget market a good kick. DesktopX has been around for a while but is still too awkward to use and configure. Same for Samurize although you could get some stunning results if you put in the effort. Konfabulator was always nice but cost money and was short of widgets the last time I tried – not any more.
I’ve put up my new desktop which has also taken on a
Longhorn Vista look and feel to celebrate the fact we’re a year away from a new Windows environment. So much was promised with Longhorn and on the face of it so much has been stripped out. Here’s hoping there will be a radical yet stable product at the end of it all.