Continuing its efforts to remain relevant in the post-Instagram world, Yahoo has unveiled updates to its Flickr app for iOS and Android.
“At the heart of our Flickr apps is a powerful mobile camera that makes it easy to take and share amazing photos in high resolution,” Yahoo vice president Bernardo Hernandez wrote, with amazing redundancy, since the same could be said of any smartphone app that uses your phone’s powerful mobile camera.
Some of the new features are quite amazing, notably the cool new open-ended search tool. You can search for “January 2013” to find photos from that date or search for “San Francisco” to find amazing photos geotagged with that location by your (or others’) powerful mobile cameras. You can even specify objects like “car” or “tree” or “portrait.”
The search algorithm is powerful enough that it even recognized trees in drawings I had made and uploaded to Flickr. It showed me photos of my wife when I typed her name into the search box on my profile in the app — probably picking up on tags or photo titles that I had added after taking those photos with my powerful mobile camera. Still, the effect was powerful, cool, and a little creepy.
Strangely, when I tried the same name search on the Flickr web site, it showed me a bunch of nude photos, which was a little awkward. They were, however, all amazing photos in high resolution.
In other ways, the new Flickr app has received an extensive but largely cosmetic overhaul. It’s got a more dramatic layout for photos that makes your amazing photos in high resolution appear larger. The app also has a black background throughout, instead of a white background, because everyone knows that black backgrounds are more sophisticated.
The new apps include the same “live” filter option found in the previous versions: Instead of first taking a photo and then applying a filter, as with other photo apps, you can apply filters while you’re still framing your shot, so you can see what it might look like before you press the virtual shutter button in order to engage your powerful mobile camera’s sensor.
The powerful mobile camera at the heart of the Flickr app is also capable of recording HD video clips up to 30 seconds long.
Flickr has offered a terabyte of storage — for free — since May, 2013, which is enough space for more than 500,000 amazing photos taken by your powerful mobile camera, Flickr says.
As a longtime Flickr user, I’m looking forward to testing this app more extensively. Because the powerful mobile camera in previous versions of the Flickr app were rather sluggish, Instagram has become my default tool for taking amazing photos, messing them up with filters, and then uploading them to Flickr. With the new iOS app, it seems faster — at least in my limited tests — although the camera did crash the app once. To be fair, many apps on my aging iPhone 4S crash when I try to use the camera.
If Flickr’s new powerful mobile camera is all it’s cracked up to be, it might just be enough to bring me back to the app full-time.