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TMCNet:  Yahoo revamps Flickr app to join Instagram-Twitter photo-filter fray

[December 12, 2012]

Yahoo revamps Flickr app to join Instagram-Twitter photo-filter fray

SUNNYVALE, Dec 12, 2012 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Yahoo (YHOO) debuted a new mobile experience for the second consecutive day Wednesday, unveiling a redesigned app for its photo-sharing site Flickr that includes filters and editing capabilities similar to Instagram and Twitter.

Yahoo announced in blog posts Wednesday morning that its new Flickr app for iPhones would include editing tools and filters that change the color profiles of pictures, a process popularized by the Instagram mobile photo-sharing application.

Yahoo purchased Flickr in 2005 and has so far used it more as a desktop photo-storage and -sharing site, similar to Shutterfly or Google's (GOOG) Picasa. With Wednesday's revamp, Yahoo is pushing Flickr as an all-in-one photo destination, allowing users to upload their photos taken on Apple's (AAPL) smartphone to join the rest of their images.

"We know that some of your best photo moments happen on the fly, so we've made it easier to get the perfect shot when inspiration hits. Once you get the shot, there's a built-in editor to quickly correct, crop, or enhance it with one of the new high res filters," Markus Spiering, head of product for Flickr, wrote in one of Wednesday's blog posts.

Spiering also pointed out that photos uploaded with Flickr could easily be shared on any social network. "When you're in the mood to share, you can do so simultaneously via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or email. We've worked with our partners to ensure that your photos look gorgeous no matter where they are viewed, on or off Flickr," he wrote.

That bit of news places Flickr in an advantageous position, as the social networks battle to keep their users' content from being shared on other sites. Instagram -- which is owned by Facebook -- killed the ability for users to display their photos on Twitter this week, with Twitter announcing Monday that it would offer its own filters and editing services for photos within its mobile apps.

Twitter, however, also attempts to thwart users from sharing a tweet on multiple social networks, cutting off the ability to post tweets simultaneously to LinkedIn earlier this year. The San Francisco company has also attempted to block popular apps that access its service, part of a "walled garden" approach that is spreading among social networks.

The revamped Flickr app is part of CEO Marissa Mayer's drive to make Yahoo more relevant in today's Web world, where mobile access has become an integral point of contact between consumer Web operations and their users, especially younger customers. Mayer, 37, has said that enhancing Yahoo's mobile offerings is her "top priority" since arriving to lead the company in June from competitor Google.

Mayer announced new email apps for Yahoo's webmail service Tuesday for iOS and Android operating systems, which also included a redesigned interface for PCs and Windows tablets. Flickr received a fresh look for desktop usage Wednesday as well, with a new navigation bar and improved ability to explore other users' photos; a Yahoo spokeswoman said "Flickr is working on future versions for Android." Mayer has also worked to expand Yahoo's talent base in mobile, acquiring New York-based Stamped, cofounded by Google veterans, to lead the Sunnyvale company's mobile efforts, and San Francisco's InTheAir for engineers.

Wall Street seems to be pleased by Mayer's leadership of the previously struggling company, with the company's stock price hitting levels unseen since 2008. The company's stock closed at its highest price since the Great Recession on Tuesday, $19.52, representing a 24.8 percent gain since Mayer took over as CEO. The price dipped slightly in Wednesday's morning session, however; at 9 a.m. Pacific time, shares were trading for $19.43.

Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.

___ (c)2012 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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