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Flickr's new interface emphasizes social media, but will anger long-time users

Jackie Dove | May 29, 2013
Flickr's new upgrade showcases big, bold images, but many do not like the change.

Facebook-like presentation gives you a lead image and large image modules.

It's not me, it's you
The essence of the new presentation is the You section. The photostream loads all of your images in large blocks, endlessly as you scroll down. Click on any individual image and it opens in a lightbox view with arrow navigation, resembling the black-bordered mobile app interface, and letting you favorite it, add a comment or view it full screen. A button lets you view a glorious full-screen slideshow.

I was especially pleased with the new Sets page, which showcases each of your sets in large, easy-to-read modules. Strangely, though, the same old-fashioned white space with blue links appears at the bottom. The Edit module looks like a page torn exactly from the previous version of the site, except with the cover photo at the top.

Sleek black background looks great on a high resolution display. Underneath is the same white text interface with the click-to-advance photo stream.

Some pages in the You module seem like hybrids of the old and the new design, which gives the new site an unsettling half-finished look and feel. It's like someone painted part of the house while leaving the other half for later. These pages sport the new cover photo at the top and images in a large, pleasing grid, but the bottom of the pages resort to the same white background and links that they always had. Some users lament the new concentration of information away from EXIF and metadata toward a more social orientation and not immediately seeing information and comments they used to see at a glance.

Unfortunately, there appear to be fewer ways to alter the view of your photo sets or to view sets with the photostream, and that's a disappointment. Hopefully, as Yahoo engineers revisit the interface, they'll enhance presentation flexibility.

Sweet deal for Pro accounts
If you already have a Pro account, read the FAQ carefully to figure out where your current Pro account leaves you. First, Flickr says that subscriptions are unchanged. But it also lets you switch to a free account before August 20 to become eligible for a pro-rated refund. But if you were already willing to fork over $25 for a yearly Pro subscription, you'll now get more for your money.

Whereas the Pro account offered unlimited storage at 50MB per photo, the free account now allots 200MB per photo. The previous pro account included unlimited video uploads of up to 90 seconds at 500MB per video, whereas the new free account is more video friendly with 1080p HD video totaling 1GB and playback up to three minutes. While the new account lets you upload and download in full resolution, the older subscription limits image size download for other users. The Pro account is ad free with access stats and referrals. The new Flickr account has ads (unless you buy the $50 per year version of the service) and does not offer stats.


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