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File:Flickr wordmark.svg
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Photo/video sharing
Available language(s) Chinese (traditional)
English (original)
Portuguese (Brazilian)
Owner Yahoo! Inc.
Created by Ludicorp
Launched February 2004
Alexa rank 33[1]
Current status Active

Flickr is an image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.[2] As of October 2009, it claims to host more than 4 billion images.[3]



Flickr was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company that launched Flickr in February 2004. The service emerged out of tools originally created for Ludicorp's Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved.[4]

Early versions of Flickr focused on a multiuser chat room called FlickrLive with real-time photo exchange capabilities. There was also an emphasis on collecting images found on the web rather than photographs taken by users. The successive evolutions focused more on the uploading and filing backend for individual users and the chat room was buried in the site map. It was eventually dropped as Flickr's backend systems evolved away from the Game Neverending's codebase.

Some of the key features of Flickr not initially present were tags, marking photos as favorites, group photo pools and interestingness, for which a patent is pending.[5]

In March 2005, Yahoo! acquired Ludicorp and Flickr. During the week of June 26 – July 2, 2005, all content was migrated from servers in Canada to servers in the United States, resulting in all data becoming subject to United States federal law.[6]

On May 16, 2006, Flickr updated its services from beta to "gamma", along with a design and structural overhaul. According to the site's FAQ, the term "gamma", rarely used in software development, is intended to be tongue-in-cheek to indicate that the service is always being tested by its users, and is in a state of perpetual improvement.[7] A further connotation, more specific to photography and the display of images, is that of gamma correction. For all intents and purposes, the current service is considered a stable release.

In December 2006, upload limits on free accounts were increased to 100MB a month (from 20MB) and were removed from Pro Accounts, permitting unlimited uploads for holders of these accounts (originally a 2GB per month limit).[8]

In January 2007, Flickr announced that "Old Skool" members—those who had joined before the Yahoo acquisition—would be required to associate their account with a Yahoo ID by March 15 to continue using the service.[9] This move was criticized by some users.[10]

On April 9, 2008, Flickr began to allow paid subscribers to upload videos, limited to 90 seconds in length and 150MB in size. On March 2, 2009, Flickr added the ability to upload and view HD videos, and began allowing free users to upload normal-resolution video. At the same time, the set limit for free accounts was lifted.[11]

In May 2009, White House official photographer Pete Souza began using Flickr as a conduit for releasing White House photos. The photos were initially posted with a Creative Commons Attribution license requiring that the original photographers be credited. Flickr later created a new license which identified them as "United States Government Work", which does not carry any copyright restrictions.[12] The photos are posted with this disclaimer: "This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."[13]

Corporate changes

In June 2008, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield announced his resignation following his wife and co-founder Caterina Fake, who left the company on June 13, 2008.[14] Butterfield wrote a humorous resignation letter to Brad Garlinghouse in which he stated that he was an old tin man in a new age.[15]

On December 11, 2008, The Guardian reported that three employees had been laid off as Yahoo continued to reduce its workforce.[16]


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