While Instagram may have the social media cachet, the Yahoo-owned Flickr has just pushed out a sweeping update to its service to stake its claim to being a more comprehensive cloud photo service.
In 2013, Flickr said that all users would be given 1TB worth of free storage. With this week’s update, Flickr has taken steps to tame the sprawling mass of images spread across desktop computers, smartphones and its own servers.
Among the new features is a unified search function that aims to streamline image discovery in Flickr’s enormous pool of images. Photos can be filtered by size, color and orientation and the search algorithm has been refined to better understand search terms that had previously flummoxed the service. Flickr said a search for “London Eye” would no longer surface images of eyes in England but the famous Ferris wheel.
Search results are now split up between your own images, photos from people you follow, and images pooled from the wider Flickr community.
Uploading images to Flickr will be facilitated by a new Uploadr app for Mac and Windows users. After you install Uploadr and select where your photos are stored, the app will upload your photos and monitor your computer so that any new files are automatically uploaded as well.
Images uploaded from Uploadr will land in the new Flickr Camera Roll and be organized in reverse chronological order. New bulk editing features will let you add or adjust metadata across multiple images at once.
As photos begin to pile up in your Camera Roll, Flickr’s computer vision technology, employed in a feature called “Magic View,” will help group similar files together to make them easier to sort through. Enter Magic View and Flickr automatically organizes your images based on their content, grouping landscapes with landscapes, monochrome images with monochrome, etc.
Sharing images is also easier. Users will no longer need to share albums, but can simply select groups of images and share a link to only those files. Flickr also added bulk downloads so you can retrieve your high-resolution originals in the event you lose them locally.
The Flickr app on Android and iOS has been refreshed, adding the Uploadr feature to send your smartphone pics and videos into the cloud. According to Yahoo, de-duping algorithms will ensure you’re not sending multiple copies of the same images into Flickr’s servers, thus preserving your 1TB of free storage.
Images stored on your Camera Roll can be edited without impacting the original file. You can adjust brightness, white balance, crop or slap on filters, including several new filters Flickr is releasing.
Flickr has detailed all the new features on its blog.