Is Flickr Just Chasing Instagram?

Poor Yahoo, any move it makes is either harshly criticized or wildly unpopular. While certain corners of the Internet were still simmering over this weekend’s purchase of Tumblr, Yahoo went out and gave Flickr a makeover. The new and improved photo sharing site now has – you guessed it – tiles.

flickr1There’s no doubt that the interface is definitely an update. They’ve done away with most of the white space that made their site feel like a warehouse for stock photos. Flickr has also brought the user to the forefront, and every user can brand him or herself as a professional photographer.

flickr2Flickr is the quintessential example of a company playing catch-up. They recently updated their app into an Instagram copycat, where users could take pictures, add a filter and share them with friends. Flickr, the site that originally targeted photographers as a platform to display their art, has lowered its standards to appeal to the everyman.

Compare and contrast Flickr’s updated look (above) with Instagram’s look (below).

Instagram1After Flickr modernized its app, it turned to its online presence. 2013 is the year of the tile, we’ve seen it in website updates on Pinterest, Instagram, and most recently Google+. Tiles have been used in curation sites like Feedly, Pulse, and Scoop.it and have become a popular layout on smartphones. It only made sense that Flickr would try to keep up with the cool kids and adopt a similar design.

So who is Flickr targeting? It seems to be stuck in the crossroads between appealing to the niche market of photographers versus the millions of smartphone users who love taking pictures of food almost as much as eating it. Does it want to become a home for photos so users can share their work on social networks like Pinterest, or does it want to be the social network people visit to comment on and favorite images?

On the one hand, the website is trying to court photographers again by giving each user a terabyte of space. This appeals to photographers who take large high resolution photos and need unlimited space to store them. On the other hand, Flickr is trying to promote the shareability and user interface with an Activity Feed that regularly updates friends’ photos. Pair that with the emphasis of their iPhone and android apps and it seems like Flickr really wants to come back and be the next Instagram.

Check out the side-by-side screenshots of Flickr’s iPhone app (left) and Instagram’s iPhone app (right).

screenshot2Last week we poked fun at Myspace and their constant struggle to draw users –any users – to their revamped layout. Recently, the once popular Draw Something desperately tried to pull from Instagram’s fan base.  Now, Yahoo and Flickr are trying to catch up and become one of the top networks again. In the modern world, do fallen companies stand a chance at reclaiming their former glory at the top? Or are they doomed to fall into the shadows and disappear, unable to innovate with both the current giants and start-ups with the next big thing?

About the author

Amanda Dodge