Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Does Flickr have a point, the death of niche site in the face of massive Social Network sites like Facebook and Twitter

Back in 2004 Flickr was the flagship of Web 2.0 sites. Great community building tools, wonderful interface, ability to self publish text and images quickly with an innovative tool, and RSS feeds allowing you to link the tool up to outside sites.

Then it kind of lost it way. Maybe it was all because of Yahoo! buying it, or maybe it was the greatest threat to IT firms: they become to inward looking. For several years Flickr seemed more interested in regulating and controlling its users than enabling them, and it actually changed its early branding which stressed the connectivity and flexibility of the tool to a site that focused in on itself, even to the point of showing images of staff rather than users in the community icon.

The result of combined failures of Flickr and Yahoo! is that the Social Graph is owned by Facebook. Well under new outsourcing by Yahoo! you can now attach your Flickr site to Facebook. This works great for importing your friends.

But the authentication of account using Facebook was not working for me. I was able to do it with Google though.

But I have to wonder. I have just created a Flickr account using my Google Account. On Google I have a Picasa site with hundreds of images in it. There is no way I will ever load all those images to Flickr and given Flickr tendency to delete accounts for unknown reasons I frankly don't see the point.

Now I actually have my social network that I have built up on Facebook in Flickr, but again I have photo sharing on Facebook and people go on that site every day, what do I get by having photo sharing on Flickr. Given I can't even post a URL on Flickr the tool just seems like more work to get a smaller audience to see my pictures. Why not just do what most people do already and post images on Facebook.

Now I am sure some Flickr enthusiasts will tell you that you get more functionality, though I frankly can't see it. I would respond that other photo enthusiasts I have read are as quick to complain about the limits of Flickr. Even if Flickr offers more functionality than Facebook it is at best marginal and likely will be just as good shortly.

So what is the pont of any marginal targeted site in the age of Facebook. Are sites like YouTube and Flickr only as good as Facebook does not yet offer that functionality?

Is there any space for Web 2.0 services between Blogging, Twitter and Facebook? I have my publishing tool, my promotion tool, and my social network. Other sites support the three, my YouTube videos are distributed via blogs, FB and Twitter. But as for photos Google and Facebook already provide me a massive amount of storage, why would I waste my time with a third place to dump images unless it is obvious to me what I am getting?
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