Lost in all the hoopla around whether Yahoo and Microsoft should get together was the announcement that Yahoo will be shuttering Yahoo Photos and making Flickr the only photo product offered in the Yahoo family. This strikes me as a bold and strange maneuver. This strikes me as one of the largest, if not the largest, attempt by Yahoo to foist web 2.0 technology on their larger user base. I can only hope it goes better than the launch for the revamped Yahoo TV website. Unlike the introduction of the web version of Yahoo Messenger (which still allows for client access to IM), this is an all-or-nothing shot.
The thing that perplexes me is that I have a lot of friends who are not into technology and not photo buffs (also known as normal people) who find Flickr confusing, hard to navigate, and generally not the solution they want. I am always wary of the “my grandmother/mother/father hated it so everyone in middle America will hate it” type of anecdotes, but my experiences have been that Flickr appeals to web and photo savvy folks and is overkill for most people who don’t fall into those buckets.
I hope that Flickr succeeds and converts a lot of Yahoo Photos’ traditional base — it would be good for web 2.0 technology as a whole and good for Yahoo in particular.
Aside from the Peanut Butter Manifesto, I don’t see the burning need to shutter the old photos product — it seems to me that both could succeed as independent offerings as they cater to different niches.