Indulge me, please, in a moment of worry.
In case you’ve been living under a rock — and given the horrorshow that is this American Presidential election, I wouldn’t blame you — you might have missed that Verizon is buying Web pioneer Yahoo! for $4.8 billion. Photo-sharing site Flickr is part of that deal, as Yahoo! has owned it since 2005.
And now I’m worried about Flickr’s future. With the exception of a refreshed UI in 2013 and some new features and giving all users 1 TB of storage in 2015, Yahoo! has largely left the site alone. Meanwhile, innovation on the rest of the Web continued at breakneck pace, and other photo sites have overtaken Flickr in usefulness and popularity.
I’m an unabashed Flickr fan and for years have cheered it from the sidelines, but even I have to admit Yahoo!s inaction has left Flickr in a challenging competitive position. Even before the acquisition, Flickreenos everywhere were concerned for the site’s future.
And now here comes a new owner, and who knows what they’ll end up doing with their floundering photo-sharing site.
Here’s why I care so much. It’s not altruism or fanboy love. It’s that I use Flickr to host most of the photographs I share on this blog.
If Flickr goes away, photographs disappear here. Nine and half years worth of photographs.
It would be a daunting, enormous job to fix that.
Yes, I’m wringing my hands. Yes, it’s premature; Verizon has kept mum about its plans for Yahoo! and there’s currently no indication that they’ll change anything.
But I think I’m entitled to a little handwringing, because a project to restore missing photos to the nearly 1,500 posts here — oy, I don’t know how I would ever make time for that. I’d consider just leaving them be except that many of my old posts rank high on searches, and I want them to continue to be everything they have been.
Cross your fingers for me that Flickr has a long life ahead of it.