Flickr Adds Smarter Search & Navigation Tools, Updates Mobile Apps

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Yahoo’s overhaul of Flickr continues today with the launch of several new photo upload, organization and search tools that work together across devices. Flickr’s Android and iOS apps are also being updated today to reflect most of the new features.

Today’s launches are aimed at making it easier for Flickr users to take advantage of that remarkable 1 terabyte of storage space that Flickr gave users almost two years ago. The upgrades involve three primary areas: photo uploading, organization and search.

Photo Uploads

Flickr is releasing a new desktop photo uploader for both Windows and Mac computers, but the bigger move here is the availability of auto-uploads on mobile devices. Users that take advantage of this will have all of their photos and videos sent to Flickr and synced across devices. Yahoo says it’ll eliminate any doubles it finds, and mark all the uploads as “private” on Flickr until the user chooses to make any public. Google+ has a similar auto-backup function for photos, and that had been seen as one of that site’s differentiators in the photo wars.

Photo Organization Via “Magic View”

Flickr is adding new ways to organize and browse all those photos, too. In addition to a new date-based browser, Flickr is launching what it calls “Magic View” — a tool that uses image recognition technology to automatically group similar photos together. Magic View uses more than 60 categories to auto-organize photos, such as animals, landscapes, black and white, screenshots and more. It’s launching for desktop users only.

Flickr_Web_Magic_View

New Flickr Search Experience

That same image recognition technology is being used to improve Flickr’s image search. We previewed some of the new advanced search tools last month when I stumbled into Flickr’s beta test.

Flickr says its new search engine is able to understand intent better, so a search for “golden gate bridge” won’t bring up results that show gold gates or bridges. Likewise, a search for “London eye” will show photos of the giant ferris wheel, not photos of eyes and London. This is active for both desktop and mobile searchers, but mobile users won’t see image recognition-based tags on photo pages.

One of the most interesting-looking features is the ability to filter searches by color, as shown here.

Flickr_Web_Color Search_Minimal

Flickr is calling this a “unified search experience,” but that’s not a reference to search being the same on both desktop and mobile. A company spokesperson says Flickr search on the desktop includes several features that are best suited to the web — such as filtering by color, style, photo orientation, license and a few others. The phrase “unified search” is a reference to the fact that users no longer need to tell Flickr where they want to search; searches by default now show results from their own photos, photos from people they follow and everyone’s photos in one search results display.

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