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Fun with Flickr

Fun with Flickr
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First Published: Thu, Jul 22 2010. 10 29 PM IST

Updated: Thu, Jul 22 2010. 10 29 PM IST
Flickr has been around for ages, so why have we just started having so much fun with it? Maybe it has something to do with the user community suddenly going hyperactive, especially in India. After all, with the release of the App Garden last year (Apps showcase made using Flickr API), many developers have come up with interesting ways to interact with content on this giganticphoto website.
Exploring Flickr
There are a number of ways in which you can explore the tonnes and tonnes of public photos uploaded on to the website. The easiest way is to go to www.flickr.com/explore. Here, you’ll have options such as viewing all uploads in a particular month, viewing by most “interesting”photos (www.flickr.com/explore/interesting), places (www.flickr.com/places) and by sets (albums in Flickr parlance). Flickr calculates the “interestingness” of an image using an algorithm that takes into account things such as views, comments (even who comments) and tags, etc.
Browse by tags
Go to www.flickr.com/search and key in your favourite keywords. Make sure you click the Tags Only option. You can separate tags with a space. For example, if you’re looking for pictures of people from Agra, just type “Agra People”. The results can then be sorted further according to how recent they are or interestingness.
Alternatively you can head to www.flickr.com/photos/tags, where you will find some great tag-related resources, such as a tag cloud with the most popular tags of all time, and a selection of the hottest tags in the last week or 24 hours.
With geotagging becoming popular, it’s become possible to pinpoint where pictures from around the world are coming from. This makes for the possibility of looking at a map dotted with pictures from around the globe. Go to www.flickr.com/map to look at geotagged images on the basis of recency or interestingness.
This is another community-generated and participative corner of Flickr. Here Flickr shows you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives. You’re invited to help describe the photographs you discover by adding tags or leaving comments. Sometimes, this can lead to hilarious results when people use the “Add Note” tool to annotate certain sections of the picture with comical remarks. Head over to the direct link now—www.flickr.com/commons
Bulk downloads with Bulkr
Sometimes just looking at a set of photos is not enough. You gotta have them with you. Bulkr is the hot favourite of the Flickr community that’ll let you to do just that. It’s a cross-platform app that allows you, in a nutshell, to easily download/backup your photostream, all your albums, your favourites, or even photos from Flickr search. You can get your hands on a particular user’s photostream (provided it’s creative commons licensed) or use it to search for images based on certain tags, licence, groups, and download them in bulk.
The software lets you download in six sizes (small, medium, large, etc.), with the only restriction being a fixed number of downloads at a time. Get it from www.clipyourphotos.com/bulkr
Flickr games
A number of interesting games that have been developed by using the stream of content uploaded on to Flickr. For instance, you can play a spin-off of the ever addictive Sudoku athttp://flickrsudoku.com. One of the most fun games we found was the Guess the Tile game (www.bighugelabs.com/guess.php). The game will throw random pictures at you and you have to guess what the title could be. Choose a handle and start guessing. The quicker you are, the more points you earn. What adds the competitive edge is that you get to play against real people from around the world.
This well-designed website allows you to view literally hundreds of the most interesting photos on Flickr in one seamless stream. The infinite scroll starts with 500 photos and it shows you how many have been loaded. There’s no need to press next or anything, just keep scrolling down in your browser window and click on any photo you would like to enlarge.
This interface is designed for large-screen glory. The first thing that’ll catch your attention is the minimalist approach to showcasing images. It’s all black with images arranged in a grid. It almost reminds you of the Zune interface in some ways. With FlickeFlu you get to browse the most interesting photos by user or by group, search photos by tag, or explore by a point in time.
While FlickeFlu is nice but slow, this website has somehow managed to speed things up a little. Here too you’ll find the minimalist black interface, but with more options to explore. We particularly liked the “surprise” button that streams in a set of random but highly rated photos. You can truly spend hours on this site.
Phrasr is more of a fun app than anything else. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, this website turns this idea on its head. It lets you enter a sentence and then search for images that will express that sentence using pictures. We got some interesting results for “Bombay Rains Are Fun”. Once you’re done, you get to “publish” your work too. The only trouble is that you need to refresh to start over.
An interesting navigational tool that allows you to explore the space of related Flickr tags. Type in one start tag, hit “Enter” and dive into tag space. Bubbles of related tags start appearing around the main tag. You can jump from one bubble to another. There’s interesting use of motion in the interface.
With this tool you can make a nice little flash-grid of dynamically changing images that can be embedded on any of your websites or blogs. You can pull in your own photos or images based on a search keyword. Simply log on to http://wwww.flickr.com/badge.gne and follow the four-step process to get your code.
Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Jul 22 2010. 10 29 PM IST
More Topics: Flickr | Applications | Tags | Photos | Maps |