Flickr Debuts Instagram Clone for Android

ANALYSIS

 @redletterdave
on September 29 2011 10:01 AM

Yahoo's photo-sharing service Flickr introduced its Android app Wednesday, which allows users to take photos, apply filters, and share them with their friends.

Sound familiar?

Unlike its iPhone app, Flickr's app for Android devices puts a greater emphasis on the social aspect of sharing photos. Now, users can like photos, add comments, and even view photo data or see where the photo was taken on a map.

A photo is more than just a few pixels, said Markus Spiering, Flickr's product manager. It's also the context.

A new feature called Photo Session creates an even greater conversation by letting people view digital slideshows together while talking through a chat box layered on top of the product. One person leads the show, which can accommodate up to 10 other users who can watch the slideshow in real-time.

Each of these Photo Sessions earns a unique URL, which allows others to view the link within a 24-hour span following the session.

This feature brings back the old feeling, sitting on a couch and looking at a photo album, Spiering said.

Users can also enjoy viewing photos in fullscreen, and even zoom in and sketch on them with a colorful array of digital pens.

Most importantly, however, Flickr's main focus of its Android app is the photo-taking experience. Flickr has developed its own viewfinder screen, but the most notable feature is the photo filters.

The app comes with 10 filters that can beautify photos, according to Spiering, or stylize them. For instance, the NYC filter makes colorful images into stark black and white photos, while Miami makes the image more saturated with color.

Android users have yearned for a photo sharing service like Instagram to come to Google's mobile OS, and with Flickr, they finally got it. With Instagram announcing no plans to extend its platform to Google's mobile OS, Flickr seized its golden opportunity.

Flickr's Android app is surely a jab at Instagram, the iPhone-exclusive application offering its own variety of filters for taking, creating, and sharing retro-looking photos. Everything about Flickr's Android platform, from the nearly identical filters to the newsfeed of activity from other Flickr users simply reeks of Instagram.

While Flickr boasts 68 million registered users of its own, the platform is likely jealous of Instagram, which has amassed a whopping 10 million users in less than a year since launching. Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom says Instagram is seeing a sign-up rate of over one user per second, or roughly 78 per minute.

Instagram launched version 2.0 of its platform in Apple's App Store last week, which features larger images for framing purposes, the ability to rotate images, add or remove borders, blur sections of the photo, and even apply filters in real-time before the photo is taken.

Flickr currently has an app for the iPhone, but the filters feature is Android-only for now. Flickr users have uploaded more than six billion photos to the platform.

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