All posts tagged ‘Flickr’

File Under: Multimedia, Web Services

Easily Upload Photos With Flickr’s New Drag-and-Drop Tools

Flickr's slick new HTML5 uploader.

Photo sharing service Flickr has announced a new HTML5-based photo uploader with drag-and-drop support and a better interface for adding captions, titles and other annotations to your uploaded images.

The new HTML5 photo uploading tool comes on the heels of Flickr’s recent move away from the Flash-based Picnik photo editor to a new HTML5-based image editor. Not only is the new uploader faster and better, it adds further foundation to the hope of Flickr fans everywhere — that, despite some recent personnel changes at Yahoo, the company still believes in and will continue to develop Flickr.

Despite the advances the web has made over the years, uploading files remains a clunky, confusing process for many users who always want to know why they can’t just drag and drop files like they do everywhere else. Like Gmail’s similar drag-and-drop file uploader, that’s exactly what Flickr users can now do, provided of course they’re using a supported web browser. Flickr’s new uploading tool will work in the latest versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

The switch to an HTML5-based photo uploading tool means that you can now simply select a group of images on your hard drive, drag them over to your browser and drop them on the Flickr page. From there the uploader offers a revamped photo organizer page that now sports a darker look reminiscent of the interface in Adobe’s Lightroom editor. Click on an image and the left-hand sidebar will show fields for adding a title, description and tags to your image. You can also add the image to a set, tag any people that appear in the photo, as well as control privacy settings or change the license.

The new Flickr uploader's large image previews

To go along with the new uploader Flickr has also bumped the file size limits for both pro and ordinary users to 50MB and 30MB, respectively. For Flickr pros that’s enough space to handle photos taken with the latest DSLRs, though it’s worth noting that Flickr still doesn’t support storing RAW images.

Still, Flickr remains one of the web’s most popular photo sharing sites and while the new uploader and larger file size limits may not win it any converts from elsewhere, it should make current users happy. Note that, as with previous upgrades, Flickr will be rolling out the new uploader over the next week or so, if you don’t see it just yet, fear not, it’s coming.

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.

File Under: APIs, Web Services

Backup Your Flickr Images in Your Own Parallel Dimension

Like most of the web you’re probably waiting for the other shoe to drop on the much-loved, but seemingly beleaguered, Flickr photo service.

Let’s face it, Flickr’s parent, Yahoo, hasn’t exactly had a banner year and the company already all but killed developer-favorite Delicious. If you aren’t worried about the future of Flickr it’s probably because you aren’t paying attention.

Or, it might be because you’ve got a complete and total backup of all your Flickr images running on your own URL, complete with all the metadata, permissions and privacy settings you’ve stored on Flickr.

What’s that? You don’t have a parallel version of Flickr on your own server? For shame.

Lucky for you, former Flickr employee Aaron Straup Cope created Parallel-Flickr which, as the name suggests, mirrors Flickr on your own domain. Parallel-Flickr is, in Cope’s words, “still a work in progress… it ain’t pretty or classy yet but it works.”

In a nutshell Parallel-Flickr is a set of PHP scripts for backing up your Flickr photos and generating a database-backed website to display them. The feature list includes downloading and storing your original images (along with the 640px version) and grabbing all of Flickr’s metadata about each image as a JSON file. With that info Parallel-Flickr then constructs a database and generates a website with the same URL structure that Flickr uses. Parallel-Flickr also “honours the viewing permissions you’ve chosen on Flickr.” It’s that last part of that description that’s intriguing. Here’s Cope’s description of what the code does:

The thing that’s most interesting to me though is the last piece on that list: The part where the site uses Flickr to authenticate logged in users. What that means is that I can replicate Flickr’s privacy settings locally. It means that I can have a local copy of my photos and keep private things private…

If you come to my site and you’re not logged in (via Flickr) you just won’t see non-public photos. Neither will I, for that matter. But if you do log in then because you’ve logged in via the Flickr API auth dance I have a auth token for you and can look up your Flickr ID and whether you’re a contact and see when and where you have permissions to see all those other photos.

In other words, so long as Flickr is around, Parallel-Flickr allows your site to act exactly like Flickr. From the URLs to the privacy settings, you’ll have your data backed up and online. Should the unthinkable happen to Flickr your site will still continue to function, save your private images which will be hidden safely away.

As noted above, Parallel-Flicker is a work in progress, but if you’d like to try it out, head on over to the GitHub page and grab the code. If you prefer to wait for features like cron jobs for syncing, geodata backups, S3 archiving and more, keep an eye on the project, all that and more is already on the todo list.

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File Under: Web Apps

Flickr’s New ‘Photo Sessions’ Bring Back the Slideshow

Flickr has unveiled a new feature dubbed Photo Sessions, which are real-time slideshows you can share with your friends around the web.

Say you want to share a slideshow with some friends you met on your last trip abroad. You’re back home and they’re back home on the other side of the globe. No one is coming over for dinner and slides. Instead, you just create a new session on Flickr and send the resulting URL to your friends. Once everyone has joined in, sessions become a bit like screen sharing — you swipe to the next photo and everyone else’s screen follows along.

Flickr has thrown in a few interactive features as well, including the ability to chat while the photos roll by. There’s also a way for your friends to doodle on your images from their own laptops or iPads.

Combine Flickr’s new sessions with a group chat app — Skype, iChat or the like — and you have a kind of disjointed, thoroughly modern take on the good old carousel slideshows your parents subjected their friends to in the ’70s. Feel the shag carpet people.

Alongside Sessions Flickr also announced a new Android app, which is considerably more impressive than the company’s iOS app. The Android Flickr app offers filters, geotagging and sharing in a slick-looking app that seems aimed at catching up with Instagram.

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File Under: privacy

Flickr’s New ‘Geofence’ Settings Protect Your Geoprivacy

Fencing in the range with Flickr's new Geofence features

The popular photo sharing website Flickr has introduced a new way to geotag your photos without revealing your location to the entire web. Flickr’s new “Geofence” settings give users more granular control over their geotagged photos.

Perhaps the best part of the new Geofence features are how dead simple they are to use — simply draw a circle on a map, choose a geoprivacy setting for that area, and you’re done. Your new fence will apply to any future photo uploads and Flickr will offer to update the privacy settings on any existing images that fall within your new fence.

To get started head over to the Flickr Geo privacy page.

These days geotagging isn’t just something for nerds. In fact, chances are your camera (especially the camera in your phone) is recording location data in your images whether you know it or not. Like other location-aware services, geotagged photos are fast becoming a big part of the current cultural debate about who should be able to see which parts of your life on the web.

“A few years ago, privacy controls like this would have been overkill. Geo data was new and underused, and the answer to privacy concerns was often, ‘you upload it, you deal with it,’” writes Flickr developer Trevor Hartsell on the blog. “But today, physical places are important to how we use the web. Sometimes you want everyone to know exactly where you took a photo. And sometimes you don’t.”

Previously, Flickr limited its geotagging options to a simple yes or no — either you shared location data with everyone or no one. Now you can share location data with only those people you trust. For example, you might leave the geodata for your vacation photos visible to everyone, but limit the location data of photos around your house to only your friends and family.

In those cases where there might be overlap between two geofences Flickr will default to the more restrictive of the two. For example, if you draw a circle around your house and limit it to the most restrictive group, “Family,” and then draw a circle around your whole neighborhood and limit that to “Friends,” any areas where the two overlap will still be limited to only the Family group.

Flickr’s new Geofence settings are among the best implemented privacy controls we’ve seen, striking a nearly perfect balance between genuine control and simplicity. And while we’re glad to see Flickr taking the lead, here’s hoping Facebook and others will copy these features into their own privacy controls.

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