• 09.17.12

Everyone’s Doubling Down On Photos Yet Again–Could Flickr Be Why?

The Yahoo CEO has yet to show her cards with Flickr, but Apple, Google, and others may be getting into defense mode by shoring up their own photo-related services.

Everyone’s Doubling Down On Photos Yet Again–Could Flickr Be Why?

Google, Shutterfly, and Canon remind us today that there’s gold in the overcrowded social photo industry.


Google has agreed to acquire the German Nik Software, the company behind the cult photo-editing app Snapseed that took Apple’s iPad App of the Year honor in 2011. The Verge reports that the Snapseed team will begin work on Google+. It’s easy to see why Google might want a Snapseed-like toolbar to make Google+ more enticing as a one-stop editing-and-sharing hub for photographers.

In a more bizarre move, lustworthy hardware maker Canon just launched its own beta photo management service called Project 1709 that aims to make it easy to manage photos across different social networks. At launch, it features integration with Facebook that lets you post images directly from 1709 to the network, as well as pull in Facebook photos with comments and likes.

Not to be outdone, nostalgia-inducing photo service Shutterfly today acquired Penguin Digital, the company behind mobile app Mobile Photo Factory, or MoPho. MoPho turns your iPhone into a photo printer by letting you print physical copies of images from your Camera Roll, Instagram, or Facebook. (It also lets you emblazon those images on tacky memorabilia galore in the form of key chains, mugs, and iPad cases, to name a few.)

And let’s not forget Apple’s impending launch of the new shared Photo Stream feature in iOS 6, which the company described at last week’s iPhone 5 unveiling. Photo Stream will let users share different streams with different friends as they add new photos. You can also follow and comment on friends’ streams.

What none of these players have yet figured out is how to monetize on all that snapping and sharing. Which begs the question: Are they all making moves while keeping one eye on Flickr’s pending return? Although Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has yet to show her cards for the photo service’s future, the Internet has spoken, and it’s pretty much said Flickr is all it cares to see Mayer salvage from Yahoo’s ashes. So it’s safe to assume that, even if she might not succeed, Mayer’s at the very least going to try to figure out how to better monetize that massive trove of images she’s sitting on. And also make Flickr great again.

[Image: Flickr user Kevin Harber]

About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.