Resolving one of the great mysteries of the web 2.0, Flickr has added video capabilities! Finally, the best photo sharing site on the web has what iPhoto could do two years ago, and what YouTube has been doing since day one. As John Gruber so accurately put this:
Why Yahoo didn’t do this immediately after acquiring Flickr, instead choosing to stand on the sidelines playing pocket pool while YouTube swelled into a multi-billion-dollar product, is a mystery for the ages.
From what I can tell, it’s note entirely a shot off of YouTube’s bow, but it could be. The video quality is much, much better. It looks like they’re using the On2 VP6 codec, which has quite good quality. YouTube, on the other hand is using the ancient h.263 codec that looks straight out of 1999. At 150mb for a 90 second file, there are some limitations, but the quality can be excellent. There’s no API yet for video, but I would expect that to be coming soon.
The difference from YouTube, is that, at least right now, only users who have gotten over the big hurdle of paying $25 for a pro account can use it. This will keep a lot of people away, but if you’re a savvy flickr user, that’s probably not a bad thing. Expect to still see mash-ups and other more pop-culture stuff on YouTube, and video of people’s vacation on flickr. However, it lights more of a fire on YouTube to add some much needed polish.
Flickr’s video player interface fits in very nice with the look of the site. It also looks like a a lot like Vimeo, which has alway seemed to me the most flick-inspired web video solution. This probably hurts them more than anyone.
Here’s a sample video on flickr:
This has me excited.