Flickr hasn't had an official presence in the iTunes App Store until now. The company has just launched their new iPhone application, available here, which lets you both browse and upload photos and videos from your handset.Well, that certainly took long enough. Despite being one of the most popular photo-sharing web sites on the net today,
As you would expect, the new Flickr iPhone application allows you to "shoot, upload, and share" your photos and videos using your handheld device. It supports geo-tagging photos thanks to the iPhone's GPS capabilities as well as adding photos to sets. You can also use the official app to browse your own photos by sets or tags and track the recent uploads from your Flickr friends. A universal search feature is included too, for searching public photos. (A nice way to grab some new wallpaper for your iPhone's lockscreen).
Flickr Has Lots of Competition
For a long time, it seemed as if Flickr was going to be satisfied with having an iPhone-optimized website and not a "real" app when it came to their iPhone/iPod Touch offering. That left the door open - wide open - for a number of developers to create their own Flickr tools. Do a search today for "flickr" in the App Store and you'll see a page filled with thirty-some results for alternatives to the official app. Although not all the apps are uploaders or photo browsers (some just mention "flickr" in their descriptions), many are. From Flickup to Flickr Sendr to Flickr Search and one of our personal favorites, FlickIt, the choices for interacting with Flickr from your iPhone are plenty.
But Flickr doesn't just compete with other Flickr-based apps, they also have to deal with the multi-site uploaders...which some could argue are even more useful than Flickr's own official app. For example, Pixelpipe supports uploading to social networks, micro-blogging services, photo and video sharing sites, blogs, online storage sites, and much more. It's an incredibly useful tool for anyone who shares photos on multiple sites or just feels more comfortable knowing the data is stored on more than one service in the cloud.
Why the Delay?
There have been rumors that an official app has been in development for some time, as noted by this VentureBeat article back in December 2008. Yes, 2008.
We have to wonder why Flickr decided to wait so long to develop something for the iPhone platform. The app itself isn't all that complicated and it could have flown through the app review process, so it seems to be a case of the company just not feeling it was a top priority. That's an odd business decision for a company who reported that the number one camera used on their site is the iPhone. Not to mention the fact that after releasing the iPhone-optimized site, they saw a 50% increase in mobile users year-over-year. In fact, it's not just an "odd" decision - it was a bad one.
Although we're sure the company will gain plenty of users for their app in no time - the simple app is well-designed and does a good job - it is somewhat funny that a universal search in iTunes for "flickr" today doesn't even return the official app in the top four results displayed in the "Applications" window. And considering the large number of Flickr competitors, it's possible that it never will.