Flickr under Yahoo's stewardship has been a story of boom and bust, neglected and then cherished, and now, with a new update - Flickr 4.0 - the service has struck out in a new direction and with new vigour.
Flickr's offer of 1TB of free storage a couple of years ago certainly boosted Flickr's user numbers, but did it actually improve the problems the users were complaining about?
Now Flickr has new life and if you haven't used it before there are very good reasons to make it your photo service of choice. The new focus of Flickr is on photo storage not sharing and to that end mobile, desktop and web apps have seen some upgrades.
As before the Android and iOS clients will suck in all the pictures you take and upload them to the service. There's also a desktop client for Mac and Windows that does the same.
Once your photos are uploaded however, you'll see the changes in how you work with your online photos. A beta Camera Roll page stores all of your images privately and sorted by time. Duplicates are filtered out. On the Camera Roll page you have access to Magic View, which for once isn't just a hyperbolic name for a so-so feature. Click the Magic View button and your photos are filtered into albums based on the content of the picture, and very accurately too. Want to find all of your photos of your dog? They're right there, under Animals... Dog. As is just about everything else. It is absolutely magic.
The same intelligence has been brought to search. Add some details of what you want in a photo, 'children and dog in car' for example, and you get back a stream of matching images. You can filter on colours and even licenses. The photo at the top of the page is the result of this search, filtered for 'no copyright restrictions'.
There are other features, such as sharing by URL and new album management tools, but in the main the most exciting part of 'new' Flickr for me is the management of a photo archive.
Given that all of this intelligence and storage is being offered for free I just don't see a downside. I guess that question has to be when and how does Yahoo start making money out of Flickr?
What are you waiting for? Get uploading...