Flickr has finally updated its long-neglected Android app alongside a revamp of its web page. The announcement coincides with what Yahoo intends to be the “big reveal” of Flickr’s future: an ad-supported model with 1TB of storage for free users; paid users can pay $50/year to remove the ads, or $500/year to double the storage space.
It’s a gutsy move that is seen as necessary against, on the one hand, Google+ and its increasingly photo-centric nature, and on the other hand 500px, which is eating Flickr’s lunch in the amateur and professional photographer realm.
Flickr has been seen as largely neglected in recent years, left to wither while Instagram stole its mobile traffic and Facebook swooped the desktop. The new Flickr is indeed nicer, and the 1TB offering, even for free users, is extremely generous. But there are ads — lots of them — that take away from the experience for the average free user.
To the mobile side, though the iPhone app has been beautiful for some time, the company’s Android app was, to put it bluntly, terrible. This new version improves everything about it, from the interface, which now has a left-side navigation bar, to the photo viewing workflow. Taking photos is still a bit annoying: you have two options for editing, which can be combined or used individually. First is the typical Instagram-like preset filters, many of which are actually quite nice and varied; the issue is that, even on a high-end phone like the HTC One they take over a second to apply. The second editing method incorporates the popular Aviary SDK, which is, while powerful, a cop-out from having to build their own functionality into the app.
Granted, photos look beautiful, and you can finally see all the EXIF data and creator information, much like on the iPhone. But the iPhone version feels like it’s been given more love, despite the fact that there is limited Android tablet support.
With all the attention on Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr for $1.1 billion, the Flickr redesign may not seem so important. But the photo-centric portal is still hugely popular, and Android users now have another tool with which to take advantage of their excellent cameras.
Download Flickr for Android.