Yahoo Agrees to Buy Flickr Photo Service

While Yahoo plans to integrate Flickr's features into its other services, the upstart photo-sharing site is expected to stay largely independent until it completes it first major release.

After weeks of rumors, the company behind the Flickr online photo-sharing service has confirmed that Yahoo has agreed to acquire it.

A Flickr executive announced the Yahoo deal late Sunday on Flickrs Weblog, writing that Flickrs management team will remain in place and continue to pursue the release of a full Version 1.0 of the service.

Yahoo reached a deal to buy Flickr on Friday, and terms of the purchase are not being released, Yahoo spokeswoman Joanna Stevens said. The acquisition is expected to be completed next month.

Flickr, a service that Ludicorp Research & Development Corp. launched in beta a year ago, has gained widespread attention among Web developers and Internet insiders for its community-based approach at organizing and sharing digital images on the Web.

Confirmation of Yahoos plans to purchase Flickr and Vancouver-based Ludicorp follows weeks of speculation on blogs and humorous responses from Ludicorp executives, who have been bombarded with questions at technology conferences.

"Were going to grow and change, but were in it for the long haul, with the same management and same team," wrote Caterina Fake, Ludicorps vice president of marketing and community, in the Flickr blog posting.

/zimages/2/28571.gifWhat about Google? Click here to read about its expansion into digital-photo organizing with Picasa.

As Flickr works to finish its major release over the next few months, it will operate as a standalone group, Stevens said.

Once Version 1.0 is completed later this year, the Flickr team will move to Yahoos Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters and work more closely with Yahoos services, Stevens said.

"They have a strong community of users, a smart team and innovative technology," Stevens said. "Were very excited about leveraging those three things throughout the Yahoo network to help create the next generation of Web services."

Some integration between Yahoo and Flickr already is planned, but Fake stressed that Flickr will be independent from Yahoos own photo-storing site, called Yahoo Photos.

"Yahoo Photos will get a lot of Flickr features, and there are a lot of other areas around Yahoo that will also be Flickrized where Flickrization would be good," Fake wrote. "Yahoo Photos and Flickr have different kinds of users with different needs, and will remain separate for the foreseeable future."

Yahoo users eventually will be able to log into Flickr using their Yahoo ID, and the Flickr itself will be expanded. Fake wrote that users of Flickrs free service will gain the ability to upload and store more photos.

Meanwhile, users who pay for Flickr Pro accounts "will get super mega bonuses, to be announced soon," Fake wrote. She also hinted that pricing will drop for the paid accounts.

Yahoos plan to buy Flickr comes as it has more aggressively courted Web developers for its search engine and other services.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Yahoo launching a comprehensive developers program for its search technology.

Flickr itself is known for its Flickr API (Application Programming Interface), which developers have used to automatically integrate Flickr photos into other applications and Web pages.

Flickr also is one of the new breed of online services making use of tags to let individuals and groups add metadata to photos as a way of categorizing Web information.

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