Yahoo! has recently announced that it will be shutting down Yahoo! Photos by this fall. They’re doing this to promote Yahoo!’s latest baby, Flickr. Personally, I find this VERY mystifying indeed. Yahoo! Photos has had a checkered past – it was spawned off from Yahoo! Briefcase as a separate photo storage service when it became clear photos were gonna be a major area to develop. It was a pretty useful service, at least in the US, with Target pickups, stamps, collectibles, UNLIMITED storage et al.
And then came the jargon guys of Web 2.0 and with services like Flickr, changed the whole scene. Suddenly, it was no longer a question of simply backing up your photos online, taking prints, or sharing a few odd photos with family – it became a HUGE phenomenon. Tagging and that social touch to photo sharing took Flickr to amazing heights.
For some time now, both Yahoo! Photos and Flickr, from the same company coexisted in peace, targeting different audiences. Yet, this sudden decision to pull the plug from Yahoo! Photos mystifies me. In fact, Yahoo! had done a major update to Photos, with a slicker, Yahoo! Mail Beta style interface. It even allowed the full size photo download – something not given away for free on Photos earlier. Hell, this release was beta, it hadn’t even come out fully. And then… whoosh, no more Photos by the end of this year.
Fret not, for Yahoo! will automatically transfer your existing photos to Flickr, or ANY other photo hosting service of your choice (well, the main ones I guess). As for this move, it seems that Yahoo! doesn’t want to put competing services from its own stable; it very clearly, is getting ready for an all-out battle – Yahoo! Flickr vs Google PicasaWeb. And we already know the winner has a name starting with f…