With Flickr you can get out, via the API, every single piece of information you put into the system. Every photo, in every size, plus the completely untouched original. (which we store for you indefinitely, whether or not you pay us) Every tag, every comment, every note, every people tag, every fave. Also your stats, view counts, and referers. Not the most recent N, not a subset of the data. All of it. It’s your data, and you’ve granted us a limited license to use it. Additionally we provide a moderately competently built API that allows you to access your data at rates roughly 500x faster then the rate that will get you banned from Twitter. Asking people to accept anything else is sharecropping. It’s a bad deal. Flickr helped pioneer “Web 2.0″, and personal data ownership is a key piece of that vision. Just because the wider public hasn’t caught on yet to all the nuances around data access, data privacy, data ownership, and data fidelity, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be failing to deliver a quality product.
Data access, doing it right the Flickr way.
2.3 million photos with location data were uploaded to Flickr this month; 95,634,285 in total. That's according to Brady Forrest's post over at O'Reilly Radar on the appearance of Flickr photos on Google Street View.
2.3 million in one month!
Kellan Elliott-McCrea on his response whenever he's asked "How does Flickr do XYZ?".
We generally try do the dumbest thing that will work first. And that’s usually as far as we get.
There's an elegance to dumb solutions.
This morning I was interviewed by Phil Mercer on BBC Radio Oxford about the exhibition. My first ever radio interview.
For your pleasure (and my cringing) here I am in all my stumbling glory (10Mb MP3)
I blame the fact that it was just after 8am and there was a lot of coffee kicking around my system.
At least I remembered not to swear!
Have you ever wondered what Flickr does with all that geolocation data it gathers from our pictures (apart from pinning them to a map and working out the ratio of kittens to sunsets in a given area)? Well one of the things it does is is generate shapefiles of regional neighbourhoods to better work out where your picture was taken.
Flickr have just announced a fantastic new project called The Commons. The idea behind which is to harness the collective power of the Flickr community by allowing us to tag reference collections of images from institutions around the world.
The Commons kicks off with a pilot scheme involving the U.S. Library of Congress. From their photo catalogue of over a million photos the Library team has chosen around 1,500 photos each from two of their more popular collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s.
As well as being a historical treasure trove for us to pour over, absorb and catalogue, these images are also under a “no known copyright restrictions” license. It doesn't mean they're Public Domain, but it should allow for all sorts of interesting re-use possibilities.
It's very addictive once you get involved and reminds me a lot of Galaxy Zoo in a way. There's an aspect of “…just one more picture…” to it, which is bad for me as you really don't want to know how many hours I've lost to Galaxy Zoo.
For more commentary on the project, pop over to Adactio where Jeremy Keith has posted some thoughtful insight.
Just a reminder for all the Oxford crowd, we're having a flickr social meetup tonight. More details in the group thread. Come along, have some beer, meet new people and talk like a pirate (until it gets annoying).
Something different today, a public announcement if you will.
For some bizarre reason my subscriber count has shot up in the past few weeks, so as a public service to those of you in the Oxfordshire area, there's a little flickr meet up taking place tonight at the Three Goats Heads in Oxford.
We have them semi-regularly, usually every other month. They're social events, where topics of conversation range wide and free (I suspect Adrian and myself will mainly be discussing episode 20 of Heroes tonight) and you get the chance to share a few beers with fellow flickrites.
Yep, this is my one-thousandth flickr picture! Holy crap!
As I saw this milestone approaching I started to agonise about what to take to commemorate the event. After much head-scratching and conferring with friends, I decided a little family portrait was in order.
So here we all are, saying a big thanks to Flickr for igniting a photographic spark in me I didn't know I had.
Right, now that's out of the way I can get on with the normal photostream rubbish *:)
As you may have heard, Flickr have re-announced their intention to shut off the old sign-in system and move solely to Yahoo's authentication system on the 15th March.
(I say “re-announced” as this has been on the cards since the original buy out)
From the furore erupting on the forums and on other sites you'd think Stuart and the guys had decided to put babies on spikes, not streamline their login system.
I've personally introduced god knows how many people to flickr, many of whom went on to purchase Pro accounts, so I thought I'd address some of the misconceptions and complaints that are flying around in case they had any worries (which is much easier than wading through the offical support forum, which has turned into a bit of a pile-on in my opinion)
- <q>I don't want another login</q>The Yahoo login will be replacing your flickr login, it won't be in addition to. And if you already have a Yahoo ID then your total count of user IDs will actually go down.
- <q>I don't want to be firstname.lastname@example.org, I don't want to lose my flickr username</q>Your Yahoo ID has no affect on your screenname within flickr. Nor does it affect your buddy icon, email settings etc.
- <q>Yahoo's authentication sucks, it keeps logging me out every X days</q>Once you've merged and logged back into flickr, the flickr servers will keep you logged in. You won't be at the mercy of Yahoo's whimsy. I merged my account a few months ago (for access to the Filckr mobile site) and haven't been back to Yahoo's site since. So far everything has been fine.
- <q>I hate Yahoo</q>I've heard some people complain that they've had bad experiences with Yahoo in the past (note: I'm only talking from a technical angle here, their dealings with China are for another time). Fair enough, can't say I've had any problems myself and I've had my Yahoo ID for over 8 years for IM purposes (oh christ I feel old), I don't use the email side of it at all.It probably helps that the UK has some pretty hefty data protection legislation.
As to how I personally feel about this? To be honest I'm sitting on the fence. We've known this has been coming down the pipe since the buyout so the technical change doesn't impact me at all. If unifying the architecture allows them to roll out swanky new features then I'm all for it.
If I have any worries it's about how much affect the corporate culture at Yahoo is having on Flickr's independent attitude. The staff are in the threads doing their best to to reassure people that this isn't happening, but who knows.
My Pro account is paid up until the end of 2008 so I have plenty of time to see how things pans out. I've made too many friends and contacts through Flickr to just jump ship without good reason, and this isn't a good reason. Fingers crossed the good will out.