File Under: Mobile, Multimedia, Web Apps

Flickr Ditches Flash Photo Editor for Mobile-Friendly Aviary

Flickr is swapping out its existing Flash-based photo editor for a new HTML-based app that will work on any device.

Aviary, as the new editor is known, will start appearing as an editing option for your photos today, though some users may have to wait since Yahoo is staggering the rollout over the next few weeks.

Part of the change is out of necessity. Flickr’s previous photo editor was Picnik, which was purchased by Google in 2010. Google has since announced it will shut down the service Apr. 19 and roll its features into Google+.

To use Aviary to edit your Flickr photos, just head to the photo page, click the Actions tab and select the new “Edit photo in Aviary” option. That will open up the image in the Aviary window as an overlay. From there you can crop, rotate, add effects, adjust brightness and contrast and other editing basics.

Obviously Aviary is not aimed at people who takes their photo editing seriously, but for the casual user who just wants to crop an upload or add some punchier contrast, it works well. The learning curve is almost nil and it more than handles the 80 percent use case for casual Flickr users.

In that sense Aviary is a step up from Picnik, which was more of a Photoshop-inspired editor than an amateur-friendly option. However it’s surprising to see Flickr continue to ignore the Instagram-inspired trend of one-click image effects, which are not part of Aviary’s arsenal. Some may decry Instagram’s retro-inspired results, but there’s no denying the simplicity and popularity of its filters.

While Flickr obviously had to replace Picnik since Google is shutting the service down, Aviary offers another huge advantage over Picnik — it doesn’t use Flash. Dropping the Flash requirement means that Flickr users can now edit their photos on iOS devices and upcoming Windows Metro tablets, neither of which run the Flash plugin.