Yahoo! Photos Redesign

Yahoo gave a demo to a small group tonight at the Frey Norris Gallery in San Francisco. The event was hosted by Brad Garlinghouse, Vice President of Communications, Community and Front Door (pictured left) and other members of his team.


Yahoo Photos presented at DEMO in February 2005 and is about to be released as a beta. Currently, Yahoo Photos holds the title as “the number one digital photo sharing service worldwide with approximately 30 million unique monthly visitors.” This is almost four times the traffic of the ever popular Flickr, which was acquired by Yahoo in March 2005. Since then, many Flickr users have worried that Flickr would be subsumed into Yahoo Photos (see the comments at the TechCrunch post about Yahoo Photos in February). I tend to think Flickr will maintain it’s own audience and growth, and from the presentation tonight, it seems pretty clear that Yahoo Photos is merely integrating the best features and lessons from Flickr into Yahoo Photos.

With this new version, Yahoo hopes to bring the Web 2.0 experience to the masses in terms of functionality and experience. The goal is to provide tools for people to stay on top of their ever-increasing digital photo collection, and in doing so, help people stay close to friends and family.

Technically-speaking, the system has been entirely rewritten and uses advanced Javascript and AJAX, including drag-and-drop organization, tagging and advanced search for organization and sharing… hopefully translating to a better and faster experience for the user.

The product demo covered new features and highlights including:

– Drag-and-drop functionality to sort individual photos
– Edit tags and titles with point-and-click editing
– Tagging and metadata to share, view, search
– Integration with Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, Mobile and 360
– Smart albums automatically update with new tagged photos
– Open APIs to encourage mashups and third party tools (eg. you can view your photos on your TV through their partnership with Tivo)
– Download your high resolution photos (yes, you’re free to download all your photos at any time)
– Order prints (have them mailed to you or pick them up at Target in an hour) and create photo books

Before the official demo, Max and I had a chance to play around with the app on one of the computers set up in the gallery and Kim from Yahoo gave us a spin around some of the features. The application itself was responsive and fast. There were no delays in the drag and drop or the zoom effects. I particularly liked being able to click and drag-select an entire group of photos to edit or click to select multiple images, just as you would in your operating system. I was able to select over a thousand photos on the page without any delay. Inline editing of text for titles and descriptions saves time and re-sorting images was simple. Page pagination was fast and asynchronous as well.

The team had clearly spent some time optimizing the zoom effects. When you drag photos into the horizontal image pane, thumbnails shrink down and pop up with efficiency. The left side of the page provides easy access to your albums and contacts. You can IM any friend, or click to view their photos. Comment, rate and tag each others photos. Smart albums let you see all photos by tag from any of your contacts so you can see all the photos tagged “baby” from your friends at once.

I look forward to testing the beta in more depth shortly. Yahoo Photos is a major upgrade to managing and sharing your digital photos online, particularly for anyone already using the Yahoo network of products. Thanks to Josh Gershman and the Yahoo Communications Product Team for the invite.

Archived comments

  1. Sumeet on June 08, 2006 at 09:29 AM:
    Did they mention if the slideshow will have the option of displaying bigger photos?
  2. Emily on June 08, 2006 at 04:06 PM:
    The slideshow does show a larger photo than the thumbnail.  The size seemed to be a mid-size photo but you can probably specify an even larger version for display. I’ll let you know after I look at the beta some more.
  3. Sumeet on June 08, 2006 at 04:09 PM:
    Thanks Emily, I appreciate it. I assumed it was bigger than the thumbnail (that would suck a lot), but I’ve been consistently dissappointed by Flickr’s and Yahoo!’s mini slideshows.
  4. Benjamin on June 12, 2006 at 05:05 PM:
    Awesome story emily. I wish I could go to these things but alas, Alaska doesn’t have many of these. :)
  5. Terence Chang on June 23, 2006 at 03:21 PM:
    I have been waiting for the Yahoo Photos Beta more than 15 days now, since I singup the Beta. I have not been able to use it. Can’t wait to see it myself.

    Do you know any public photo beta albume that I can see in action?


  6. Terence Chang on June 24, 2006 at 10:48 AM:
    Just got in the Yahoo Photos Beta this morning after I post the comment yesterday. Isn’t that odd? Is there any chance we are related because our last name? Just kidding.

    I have tried the Yahoo Photos beta for house. I LOVE it. It’s just what I want. I can upload the full size original resolution photos and download them later. I can’t download all at same time, but I can live with it. The AJAX perform very well, not too slow. The thumb nail has good quality. There are few minor issues such as the sorting of the album and photos, sharing the photo with Yahoo friends.

    Over all, I can stop trying other online album services. Yahoo is simply the best.

    Thank Yahoo!

  7. Robins Tomar on December 28, 2006 at 09:53 PM:
    I tried the new versions of yahoo photos, it is really great.
    I appreciate yahoo’s effort.
    But it is really inferior to the picassa, photo & video sharing service of Google.
    Well, I will be using both for next one month before reaching at any final choice.
  8. Terence Chang on May 16, 2007 at 04:50 PM:
    It’s shame that Yahoo is going to close the wonderful Yahoo Photos service and have everyone move their photo to Flickr, Sony Image Instation, Snapfish or shutterfly.

    I guess there was too many photos on the Yahoo’s server farm which are not generating enough $$$ to cover the cost. Most of the photo sharing services either make money from ad, subscription or from photo pringint.

    It’s too bad that I have switch my photo album to AOL’s pictures and Google’s new Picasa Web Album.

    I have wrote a few blog about the services.

    I am curious about how many people are knowing their yahoo photos will be removed in Summer, if they don’t move?