Yahoo Photos Beta Launches Today

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The much anticipated new Yahoo Photos Beta will launch on Thursday morning, around 9 am PST.

Sign in with your Yahoo ID at photos.yahoo.com. If you see a “try the new beta” image/link in the top right, it’s live. Click on the link to request an invitation – Yahoo plans on letting 10,000 or so people in over the next week and will ramp up from there.

I saw a demo of the new Yahoo Photos product at DEMO earlier this year (see screen shots here – more below), and again tonight at a launch event. Team members Darryl Eaton, Will Aldrich, Scott Schiller, Tim Anderson and Patrick Jean were there, as well as Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and others (picture of all except Tim is here).

The new functionality brings in the best of Flickr (lots of Ajax, features like tagging and sets, and the ability to drag and drop photos) as well as new stuff that Flickr doesn’t have. Unlimited free uploading and bandwidth, full quality uploading (and downloading), and point and click tag editing. Two additional features – lots of pictures shown on a single page (see screen shots), and something called “smart albums”. Smart albums allow dynamic creation of albums based on rules (ratings, tags, date, etc.), and also allow inclusion of photos from friends. With smart albums, users can create albums like “highly rated” or “new” that will always be created on the fly.

I spoke to the team about when video will be uploadable along with photos. No on or off the record statements or hints were given, but something tells me they may be working on this.

Yahoo Photos is the largest online photo site with nearly 31 million unique monthly visitors (compare to Flickr’s 16.5 million). Flickr is for the early adopters. Yahoo photos used to be for the masses, but a few early adopters may be giving it a try, too.

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