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Why Jerry Yang Likes Flickr

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 21, 2005

Yahoo! cofounder and Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang filled me in a bit this morning on why his company just bought the photo sharing site Flickr. …

Mainly, he says, Flickr and its founders, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, have managed to create a community through a deceptively simple means--letting people tag photos with words. That way, other people can find photos about things they're interested in and often connect with the people who snapped them. "The tags give a context to the images," he says, and that's something many other sites haven't managed to do. "Caterina and Stewart are very good at figuring out how to create communities."

What will Yahoo! do with Flickr? Yang won't say yet. As it happens, Yahoo! is in the process of expanding services that draw upon the contributions of its many users. But he did offer an off-the-cuff example of how Flickr might fit into other Yahoo! services. "You can type in Scottsdale, feed it into Yahoo! via an RSS feed, and make a calendar out of those photos." It's a good bet, though, that he and his company have a lot more in mind.

UPDATE: Dhaval Shah, who says he used to work at Yahoo! (not Google, as his e-mail address had initially led me to believe), begs to differ. Here's Shah's response:

Jerry Yang is misleading here. The real reason Yahoo! needs Flickr is that Yahoo! photos has not been able to deliver anything and their breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken away by others - including flickr. The question is what was Yahoo! doing all along? That will give an answer to what they will do with it in future - nothing. With all good intentions they will go about changing the technology on which flickr is running so that they can hook it up to their ad servers - so that flickr serves does not serve google ads as it is currently doing and will end up making a mess of both. Funny, Jerry makes integration like eating a dessert!

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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