Legacy photo sharing tool Flickr got a dramatic app overhaul on Thursday, bringing the biggest changes we've seen to the app since its initial launch on Android and iOS. With added video, a faster search capability, and a more socially equipped photostream, Flickr 3.0 is attempting to distinguish itself from other wildly popular photo sharing services like Instagram, and trying to once again propel itself back into the photo spotlight.
The launch of Flickr 2.0 for mobile devices garnered some excitement when it rolled out in late 2012, but that was the last time Flickr saw any real design change. That was strictly a catch-up move; it kind of dropped off the radar since then. But now is precisely the time for a Flickr update if Yahoo wants to be serious about photos: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Dropbox are all fighting to be your go-to photo manager.
How does Flickr stack up? Let's find out.
Hands-on with Flickr 3.0
Disclaimer: I'm not much of a Flickr user, but Greenbot's Florence Ion is, and she never really used the mobile version of Flickr until now because the previous version felt like "an afterthought." But Flickr 3.0 is no longer a secondary photo experience: She found much to praise in Flickr 3.0 for Android, and I'm finding the same in its iOS counterpart.
When you launch Flickr, you're prompted to log in with your Yahoo ID; you can easily create one here if you don't have one already, or you could log in via Facebook or Google. New users should find Flickr friends to follow: The app can search through your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and phone contacts to see which of your friends are already using the service.
Following friends is one of the best experiences of Flickr, as the first thing you see when you launch the app is your friend feed with recently posted photos. You can interact with each photo in three ways: Mark it as a "fave," leave a comment, or share a photo through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, email, messages, or just by sending the URL. Much like Instagram, you'll see a sampling of comments left by other users beneath each photo. Unlike Instagram, Flickr's design follows a more modern, minimalist approach instead of a retro feel.
To learn more about a photo, just tap on it. This launches a full-screen version of the photo, which can be zoomed in and moved around. Here, you can also read all comments. Tapping on the small info button reveals more details, including the date the photo was taken, whether it's public or private, and any specific tags.
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