Michal Dzierza
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The Flickr overhaul we've been waiting for?

New Flickr screengrab via Betabeat.com If you missed the news last night, Flickr is getting ready to bite back. All, it would seem, thanks to its Head of Product, Markus Spiering.

An article published by Betabeat claims Spiering is getting ready to unleash the revamped beast by the end of February. This is likely to happen in stages, but, as the screengrab above seems to suggest, the changes are likely to be more dramatic than the previous cosmetic 'improvements'.

So what can we expect? According to Betabeat, who sat down with Spiering to go over the new features, we're likely to see:

  •  much bigger images, and a new layout (judging by the screengrab, it mimicks the Google+ photo albums layout, which confirms everyone's suspicions that the launch of G+ must have spurred Yahoo!, Flickr owners, into action)
  •  new upload page, which "looks more like an app than a website" and offers drag-and-drop capabilities
  •  bigger focus on mobile aspects of the site
  •  new pricing structure (announced in January)

But I guess there will be more features and more catching up with the competitors who've been given enough time to attract disillusioned Flickr users over the past few years. In a way, the timing might play into Flickr's advantage, as those who've migrated to 500px and Google+ have had enough time to get familiar with these services, and if Flickr can offer a vastly improved experience, it can still woo them back. After all, it still remains the most popular dedicated photo sharing site and, as Spiering claims, users upload over 3.5 million images to Flickr every day.

What I really want to know is whether Fenix, sorry, Flickr in its new incarnation will allow me to take control over what displays where. After all, one of my biggest gripes with the service was its insistence on displaying the latest image as the first one in the stream.

Roll on Feb. 28!

UPDATE 1 (28 Feb): As promised, Flickr has just rolled out the first change - if you go to your Contacts page, you can now choose between justified view and lightbox. The latter is the traditional Flickr lightbox, the former however gives users options to switch between 1 and 5 most recent images uploaded by your contacts (see screengrab below).

The images fill the width of the page neatly and each image displays the author's name. Mouse over an image and a grey overlay appears, showing some basic info: title, number of likes and comments, plus an option to switch to lightbox view for that image.

Pretty neat. I never thought I'd say this, but so far the change has been more successful than the recent 500px refresh, which annoyed many users with its 'flow' and endless repetitions of images liked or commented on by others.

Now I'm *really* curious about the next wave of Flickr improvements...

New justified view on Flickr Contacts page