Yahoo! inches Flickr into search

Apparently for the first time, limited photos from Flickr are now appearing in Yahoo! Search results. User driven indexing for search is part of what made Flickr exciting all along, I know it’s the first place I go to find images of plants (try searching by Latin names), places and events.

Lingxian Ding wrote on the Yahoo! Search blog today that the integration is starting with searches like funny photos, interesting photos, travel and black and white. It’s a very limited trial (those are literally the only search queries that appear to bring back Flickr results) but the company will presumably expand the integration across more search results in time.

As I wrote last night in a profile of startup Pixsy, image search is a rapidly expanding part of the search world. It’s also quite a task to keep image search up to date. In Flickr, Yahoo! has a userbase of hip photographers continually uploading and tagging pictures in real time. Things could get very interesting if Yahoo! started putting recent Flickr photos into news search, though that may be easier said than done.

It’s also notable that neither Yahoo! nor Google run ads on their image search pages ( and Pixsy do) so any way that quality images can be leveraged on pages with advertising makes sense.

The Yahoo! Photos site is much larger than Flickr, but its users are just getting introduced to the idea of sharing their photos with the world. Flickr users are accustomed to this, but may post edgier photos as well. With a reported 1.5 billion images indexed as of last year, Yahoo! is clearly looking to Flickr for quality and not quantity. Traditional image search usually brings up a lot of low quality photos that are only marginally related to your search term – that’s not the case with Flickr.