Flickr gets big overhaul, now offers 1TB of space for free

The new and improved Flickr
The new and improved Flickr.

Today, Yahoo released a big overhaul for longtime photo storage site Flickr. The new design’s meant to give a 2013-style update for the photo hosting service, long accused of not “keeping up with the times”—read: not being Instagram or Facebook, plus a traditionally lackluster mobile presence.

The new version of Flickr removes a lot of the white space, and forming instead a heavy collage of tiled photos. The result seems a bit getting used to, especially with much of the photo’s information now moved just below the now-browser-window-sized photos. However, some of the old Flickr interface is still present on some parts of the site, such as when selecting different photo sizes or the site settings.

One big change in Flickr is that it now offers all accounts (free and pay) 1TB of space, along with photo uploads up to 200MB in size/videos up to 1GB in size or three minutes long. While “unlimited” space was long a feature of Flickr Pro, advertising an actual size limit might be more up-front about a lack of any mysterious unstated cut-off points.

And yes, that’s “was” for Pro. Yahoo is now ending Flickr Pro service, in favor of folding almost all of Pro’s features into the free accounts, along with advertising. For an ad-free experience, Yahoo now charges $50/year, twice what Pro ran. Existing Pro users will be grandfathered in for the $25/year renewal rate, or given the option of downgrading to free service. However, if the downgrade option’s chosen, there’s no way to go back to the old Pro rate. Yahoo is also offering a “professional” service (2TB of storage space) for $500/year. I do wonder how many people will opt for paying for the ad-free experience with this change, especially with the existence of ad-blockers in web browsers.

Finally, the Android version of Flickr’s app has been upgraded to match the iOS version’s recent upgrades. Trying the app out earlier, I found it much better than the old version. Displaying images slide-show style is much easier than on the old app, which I’ll find useful. However, I’m disappointed there’s no “instant backup” option for uploading photos, similar to that for Google+ and Dropbox. With 1TB of space available, it’d certainly put Flickr up over either of those services easily for smartphone photo backups.

I’ll still be sticking with Flickr for the forseeable future, as I’ve found its service convenient and it integrates into my blog quite well. As a longtime paying Flickr Pro customer, I’ll probably renew it again to avoid ads as long as it’s at the $25/year rate, which is on par with what other sites (500px, etc.) offer. I admit I don’t use the social services (linking to photos aside) or user groups like others, so my experience might differ from more hardcore Flickr Pro users.

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