Flickr's 13th birthday offers an opportunity to reflect on the pace of change and growth in the image-sharing space.
Flickr has officially entered teen-dom — On February 10, the image-sharing platform celebrated its 13th anniversary.
The photo platform says it is “just as full of wonder, snark, and creativity as we’ve ever been.” And now, the platform is home to 13 billion photos — and, as of 2016, a billion monthly active users, with more than half those members using the mobile app.
Flickr first launched at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference on February 10, 2004. That same year, the platform allowed photo uploads up to 1MB in size displayed in either galleries or photo streams with the latest uploads. Tagging, commenting, and groups followed still in that same year, adding the social aspect.
Shortly after Flickr’s first birthday, the website was acquired by Yahoo. Last year, Verizon announced plans to acquire Yahoo, and the move could also transfer ownership of Flickr and Tumblr.
As Flickr grew older, users saw the addition of several new tools, including geotagging, a photo editor, and The Commons, a joint project with the Library of Congress. By the end of 2010, Flickr had accumulated five billion photos. The iOS app launched in 2009, with the Android option arriving two years later.
2013 brought another reason for users to join Flickr — 1 TB of free photo storage, a perk that grew as cameras advanced and file sizes grew larger. The company later went on to enhance its image-compression algorithms.
Of course, growing up is never without awkward phases and growing pains. In 2008, a partnership with Getty allowed users to license their images for sale, but the agreement between the two companies was not renewed after 2014. Last year, Flickr shuttered its own stock photo attempt, Marketplace. A pro paid subscription option had mixed reactions, particularly when the once-free auto upload option was only reserved for paying members.
As Flickr celebrates its 13-year history, the platform is asking users to share their 13 favorite images on the platform in a new album with the tag #Flickr13.