Flickr’s latest new feature takes it away from photography and begins to explore the world of amateur videography. Sounds interesting until you find out that Flickr is trying to differentiate itself from YouTube by limiting video length and only allowing premium users to upload new clips.
The first thing I noticed upon visiting Flickr today is the lack of communication about the new feature. There was no mention on the front page, and only a brief video placed on its blog page, which hints at TechCrunch’s coverage.
The videos I saw were typically clear, streamed quickly and added a certain comic element to photos on Flickr, but I question how this is better than embedding video from YouTube or any number of other online video sites.
Videos are limited to 90 seconds, and only members who pay the $25 for premium membership can add new clips, though all members are able to view videos. Many of the videos on YouTube considered short clips are a couple of minutes long. It’s possible Flickr users will embrace the time limit and use it as a wedge to stimulate creativity, but it certainly creates a scope limitation.
This looks to be a narrowly focused compliment to photostreams on Flickr, and adds a little bit of motion, noise and excitement to the site. It seems unlikely though that masses of YouTube users will flock to this service because of its limitations.
But, considering Microsoft’s persistent Yahoo buyout offers, this may only be the beginning of video for Flickr as Microsoft continues to seek out ways of competing with Google.