Flickr – Social Photo Hosting
There is certainly no shortage of image and video sharing web sites now available on the Internet and yet they all still continue to grow consistently month in month out. Flickr is one such image and video hosting web site services suite and online community. Originally created by Ludicorp in 2004, it was acquired by Yahoo! a year later in 2005. While many registered users upload their content to Flickr for others to view and search for them, there are also thousands of independent bloggers who use the service and embed in their blogs and other social networking media.
Yahoo has since reported just how much the service has grown over the years, with a June 2011 report that the web site has fifty one million registered users and eighty million unique visitors every month. Two months later, yahoo announced that Flickr was hosting more than six billion images and was still continuing to grow strongly. While anyone not registered can view and search for the images and videos, only registered users can upload new content to the web site. The additional benefit of registering is that users get to create their own profile page which also contains photographs and video content and each registered user can add contacts to their connections list much the same as Facebook.
Flickr has All the Functions You Would Expect from a Large Image Hosting Service
For mobile users are simply catered for with applications available for smart phones and iPhones so that when images are taken by the mobile phone, they are quickly and efficiently uploaded to the Flickr web site to the correct user account with a minimum of fuss and effort. There are two account types; free and professional. The free account entitles users to a quota of three hundred megabytes of image storage and two video uploads per month. In addition to this limitation, if the user does have more than two hundred images in their account, only the most recently uploaded two hundred will be viewable in their photostream. The remaining image are still there, and links to them from for example blogging sites are still viewable; only the photostream is affected. In a draconian manner, Flickr does reserve the right to delete accounts that remain inactive (meaning not logged into) for more than ninety days. This alone is a great reason to not use Flickr for your long term image file storage needs, and the policy needs a serious review by the executive management of Yahoo and Flickr to correct this stupidity.
Obviously as part of an extortionate attempt to make money, the professional account class gets to unlimited video and image file upload privileges and also no bandwidth limits for downloads and views of them. Additionally, professional class members get advertising free browsing of their images. One word of caution is that Flickr retain the right to delete all of a pro account users images without notice to the owner or any reason given at any time. Such policy decisions alone should give potential users to notion to store their images in safer hands than to be trusted to the Yahoo management team.
Groups can be created by users where the group is all about a common subject in photography. This can be because of the style of photography used, or the place where they were taken or the subject matter in the photos; it all depends on the group’s creator. Pro account users can contribute their images to up to sixty groups. Group creators can reject anyone else’s contributions as they see fit.
In order to make images and video content more easily searched for and found by others, Flickr asks users to tag their images with relevant keywords, based on the location, photography style or image content subject matter. And to assist wi9th the organization of image content, the user can organize them into sets of images, which can then be viewed in a slideshow format all under the common heading. To be clear about this, the one image can be in one or many sets, or no sets at all. Whichever is the case, it accounts for being one image.
Images can be displayed and tagged with the imapflicker application, which can then show a map of a geographic area, and thumbnails of each image is shown and expands to full view when clicked on.
Flickr Does have Serious Public Relations Problems and with Protecting their User’s Images Content
Over the years, both the Flickr and Yahoo management teams have been heavily criticized for their heavy handed censorship decisions and for account deletions. As a sign of the times, the masses are getting very tired and bored with big business management impinging on people’s rights to free speech and for inflicting upon them thoughtless judgmental attitudes about what should and should not be allowed to be viewed in the public domain.
Users by all means should and do have access controls, where they can set their image content to be private or publically shared. This of course is not a censorship by big business or government; rather it is a right to privacy that always should rest with the user and owner of the image content.
All in all, the Flickr web site has all of the functionality you would expect from such a large image and video hosting business, but any prospective user should exercise great caution about relying on the web site to protect your images as a safe resting place for them. Flickr has created great angst in the past for willfully deleting people’s beloved content without notice, warning or reason and they deny any and all liability when they do it again in the future. If you are set on using the site, then you would be wise to keep a back up copy of your images and work, because they may not still be available on Flickr when you least expect them to be deleted.