Almost every digital camera captures both pictures and movies. This reality has seemed lost on Flickr for four years. Cofounder Stewart Butterfield reportedly told attendees at a fourth-birthday party last night that Flickr, now owned by Yahoo, will introduce video uploads next month. At this point, Yahoo might as well launch the service on April 1 — the delay has become that much of a joke. Yahoo Video has already relaunched, with its own movie-upload features. So why bother?
We hear the difference between the two sites is that Yahoo Video will host longer, "professional" videos; Flickr will house shorter clips, three minutes or less — and at least at first, only from those who already have Pro accounts. The skilled visual artists who pay to use Flickr should take this as an affront. When it comes to still images, they're good enough to pay to be deemed pros. When they record moving images, they suddenly become amateurs in Yahoo's eyes. Flickr user riot: film at 11.
One could blame this plan on absentee management. After his paternity leave, Butterfield is not returning to a management role at Flickr. His wife and cofounder, Caterina Fake, didn't even attend the Flickr party. Flickr's de facto commander, Kakul Srivastava, came to Flickr from Yahoo after the acquisition. She previously worked on Yahoo's video products. That Flickr took nearly three years after she joined to roll out video doesn't speak well for her stewardship, either.