Can Yahoo Make Flickr a Competitor of Instagram?

Camera LensOver the past few weeks, Yahoo has been making significant changes to photo sharing website Flickr. CEO Marissa Mayer has stated her intention to revamp Flickr and make it “ awesome again.” With a new head of operations, the acquisition of image recognition software, app updates, and more, Flickr has been growing and improving. With enough renovation, Flickr may even become a major competitor for Instagram.

Changes to Flickr

Since acquiring Flickr in 2005, Yahoo has only recently begun to improve Flickr for future growth. Earlier this year, Yahoo increased free storage on Flickr and changed its appearance. In early August, another slew of changes began when Mayer hired Bernardo Hernandez, a former executive from Google, to take over as head of Flickr. Next, Yahoo acquired a startup company called IQ Engines. This company specializes in image recognition software, and one of its projects was a mobile app called Glow that could use image recognition to automatically create tags and sort photos into categories.

Just last week, Yahoo also brought updates to the Flickr app for iOS, a sign of its new integration with GhostBird software. These updates for the mobile app on iOS were clearly implemented with the goal of competing with Instagram. First, Flickr added both new filters for taking photos and new tools for the camera. Second, certain Flickr Pro features were made free, which aligns with Yahoo’s strategy of having users pay for more storage space or no ads rather than pro features. While these additions do not quite bring Flickr up to the same level as Instagram, they do move Flickr into the same playing field of mobile photo taking and sharing apps.

Growth After Relaunch

Since it was revamped and relaunched, statistics show that Flickr has seen significant growth in both visits and user engagement. While Flickr only had 90 million visitors in May, that number grew to 107 million in June and to 110 million in July. Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr has also been helping Flickr, as 7.2% of referral traffic on Flickr has been directed from Tumblr. This growth, as well as the clear connection to Tumblr, shows that Flickr is likely to become a major competitor with Instagram as Yahoo continues to revamp the site and mobile apps.

Flickr vs. Instagram: which app would you choose?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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