Flickr is a photo sharing website and web services suite, and an online community platform, which is generally considered an example of a Web 2.0 application.

In addition to being a popular Web site for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. Its popularity has been fueled by its innovative online community tools that allow photos to be tagged and browsed by folksonomic means.


Flickr was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver, Canada-based company founded in 2002. Ludicorp launched Flickr in February 2004. The service emerged out of tools originally created for Ludicorp's Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved.

Early incarnations of Flickr focused on a multiuser chat room with real-time photo exchange capabilities called FlickrLive for sharing photos; the successive evolutions focused more on the uploading and filing backend for individual users and the chat room was buried in the site map. It was eventually dropped as Flickr's back end systems evolved away from the Game Neverending's codebase.

In March 2005, Yahoo! Inc. acquired Ludicorp and Flickr. During the week of June 28 all content was migrated from servers in Canada to servers in the United States, resulting in all data being subject to United States federal law.[1]

On May 16, 2006 Flickr updated its services from Beta to "Gamma" along with a design and structural overhaul. According to the site's FAQ, the term "Gamma", rarely used in software development, is intended to be tongue-in-cheek to indicate that the service is always being tested by its users, and is in a state of perpetual improvement[2]. For all intents and purposes, the current service is considered a stable release.




Flickr allows photo submitters to categorize their images by use of keyword "tags" (a form of metadata), which allow searchers to easily find images concerning a certain topic such as place name or subject matter. Flickr provides rapid access to images tagged with the most popular keywords. Because of its support for user-generated tags, Flickr repeatedly has been cited as a prime example of effective use of folksonomy, although Thomas Vander Wal suggested Flickr is not the best example of folksonomy[3]. Also, Flickr was one of the first websites to implement tag clouds.

Flickr also allows users to categorize their photos into "sets", or groups of photos that fall under the same heading. However, sets are more flexible than the traditional folder-based method of organizing files, as one photo can belong to many sets, or one set, or none at all (the concept is directly analogous to the better known "labels" in Google's Gmail). Flickr's "sets", then, represent a form of categorical metadata rather than a physical hierarchy.


Organizr is a web application for organizing photos within a Flickr account. It allows users to modify tags, descriptions, and set groupings, and to place photos on a world map (a feature provided in conjunction with Yahoo! Maps). It uses Ajax to closely emulate the look, feel, and quick functionality of desktop-based photo-management applications. Because of this, Organizr greatly simplifies the batch organization of photos, which is more cumbersome with the web interface.

Access controlEdit

Flickr provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private. Private are visible by default only to the uploader, but they can also be marked as viewable by friends and/or family. Privacy settings also can be decided by adding photographs from a user's photostream to a "group pool". If a group is private then all the members of that group can see the photo. If a group is public then the photo becomes public as well. Flickr also provides a "contact list" which can be used to control image access for a specific set of users in a way similar to that of LiveJournal.

Many of its users allow their photos to be viewed by anyone, forming a large collaborative database of categorized photos. By default, other users can leave comments about any image they have permission to view, and in some cases can add to the list of tags associated with an image.

Interaction and compatibilityEdit

Flickr's functionality includes RSS and Atom feeds and an API that allows independent programmers to expand its services.

The core functionality of the site relies on standard HTML and HTTP features, allowing for wide compatibility among platforms and browsers. Organizr uses Ajax, with which most modern browsers are compliant, and most of Flickr's other text-editing and tagging interfaces also possess Ajax functionality.

Images can be posted to the user's collection via email attachments, enabling direct uploads from many cameraphones and applications with email capabilities.

Flickr has increasingly been adopted by many web users as their primary photo storage site, especially members of the weblog community. In addition, it is popular with Macintosh and Linux users, who are often locked out of photo-sharing sites because they require the Windows/Internet Explorer architecture to work.


With an active free account users only have access to the most recent 200 images he or she has uploaded. Older images are still accessible via their URLs (e.g. linked from another website), but they will no longer be accessible to tag or edit from the user's Flickr account[4].


Flickr offers users the ability to release their images under certain common usage licenses. The licensing options primarily include the Creative Commons attribution-based and minor content-control licenses. As with "tags", the site allows easy searching of only those images that fall under a specific license.

Integration with Yahoo Web SearchEdit

From August 2006, web searches for some terms, such as "Funny pictures" displays some flickr results[5].

Software architectureEdit

Cal Henderson, a flickr developer, revealed much of the service's backend in a 2005 PowerPoint presentation at the Vancouver PHP Association. The platform consisted of:

Notes and referencesEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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