Yahoo! is on a Roll

Yesterday was a big day for Marissa Mayer's Yahoo, with the announcement that they'd purchased Tumblr, followed by the launch of a revamped Flickr. Long term the Tumblr acquisition is big, and tells us a lot about how Yahoo sees its future. It's also a clear indication of how Yahoo is changed under Mayer's leadership; the announcement was honest and straightforward, and acknowledged the concerns of Tumblr fans that they might "screw this up" in the way many think they screwed up Flickr.

Fitting then that yesterday should be the day that Yahoo shows its hand on Flickr, and what they're doing to 'fix' it. As a long-time (pre-Yahoo) Flickr subscriber I'm cheered that the new design and subscription model doesn't throw out everything I've loved about the service. The features I've relied on all seem to be intact. Rather this is about demonstrating commitment and renewed relevance, and the big bold moves that show it means business. 1TB free photo storage is an order of magnitude greater than most existing offers—make no mistake, this is as much a shot across Dropbox's bows as Google's (and I love that slider that lets you see how many photos you can store).

Initial communication over what it means for existing users was less than crystal-clear, but it's pretty straightforward. Existing Pro accounts carry on as before with the same rolling subscription (for the time being at least). Free users all get a terabyte of storage, ads, and lose image stats. I think that's a pretty good trade-off for most regular people. $49.95 a year buys you statistics and strips out the ads. The curve-ball option they're calling "Doublr" gets you 2TB for a few cents short of $500. That's an interesting option, though the price/capacity would need to change before I'd consider it good value. Hard to see yet what they're planning for that.

All in all these changes are positive, and give me renewed hope in Flickr's future, and for Yahoo too. I'm hoping more than ever that one of Mayer's first calls on joining Yahoo was to Tim Cook, and that we'll see deeper and better integration of Flickr in iOS and Mac OS X over the coming months and years.

UPDATE: Right on cue, 9to5mac reports that deeper Flickr integration is on the cards for iOS 7.