I’ve been browsing around the website of Vancouver-based Ludicorp’s photo-sharing/social networking service Flickr recently, after reading the GlobeandMail article Flickr offers snapshot of where the Web’s headed
Apparently this product is becoming very popular among the digital photography enthusiasts, even though it’s only available in beta form at present. But it’s also contributing to something
much more significant: an evolution of the Web that could change the way
people use on-line sites. Flickr is an example of a web service, described as being somewhere between a web site and a regular software program.
Essentially, Flickr provides a place to store and share digital photographs – but its how they are oranised when you upload them that is the interesting part. When a photo is uploaded to Flickr it becomes a part of a network, connected to other photos in the database by their subject or their relation to you. This means photos can be organized or browsed in a number of ways and shared with others easily, instead of being limited to the predefined personal albums offered by most desktop or on-line photo services. In other words, Flickr treats digital photos as what they are, digital objects on a network, rather than like pieces of paper in a book.
The Flickr site is worth a browse to see how this works – there are some interesting collections available from the front page which give you an idea of how the service operates, and you can sign up for a free account if you’d like to see more.
To quote the GlobeandMail article:
“While Flickr is a niche service, the ideas behind it could have an influence on the development of the Web as a platform for shared programs and hosted services…. If a true version 2.0 of the Web, based on shared applications and data, remains a few years away, Flickr is apparently contributing to the early beta testing.”