Flickr is launching in seven additional languages, including French, German, Spanish, Japanese and the Hong Kong dialect of Chinese. I spoke with co-founder and head of Flickr, Stewart Butterfield, about the news - and also found out the meaning behind the "loves you" label currently on Flickr's logo! More on that below.Today
Flickr now has 525 million photos and Stewart told me that about 55% of Flickr users already reside in non-US countries. They're hoping to increase that with the internationalization being announced today. Currently 45% of Flickr users are from the US. UK is next, followed by Canada, then Germany - and others such as Australia and Spain make up the top 10. Curiously, this is a very similar country breakdown to Read/WriteWeb's user base - where 50% come from the US, around 7% from the UK and so on. It could be that this is the 'early adopter' spread for web technology (in the english-speaking world)!
While on the phone to Stewart, I congratulated him on Flickr's haul of 5 Webby Awards last week. Stewart was humble about it, but he was pleased - especially at the Best Practices award. He is (justifiably) proud that Flickr has showed the way in many Best Practices, in this era of the Web. Examples include Flickr's use of tagging, wisdom of the crowds, and other trends now familiar amongst 'web 2.0' sites.
I couldn't resist asking Stewart about the meaning of the "loves you" tagline in the Flickr logo, which recently replaced the "gamma" label. Stewart launched into an amusing story about how that change in logo label came about as the result of a "finger rocket fight" involving him and some of his designers. Stewart lost this fierce battle for finger rocket supremacy, meaning one of the designers got to change the Flickr logo. (I haven't done justice to the story, but the point is the change in logo doesn't have profound origins! In fact Stewart said he found the backlash over their use of the term 'gamma', a few months ago, went a little overboard. So this may've been a reaction to that.)
Finger rocket pic: .schill