Flickr Video Launches – A Unique Experience

Flickr users can now add video clips alongside their photos, a much requested and much anticipated feature that has been promised for over a year.

The puppet version of Shel Israel graciously kicked things off for us by announcing the new feature in the Flickr Video below.

The product is not a YouTube clone by any means. The Flickr team, led by Director of Product Management Kakul Srivastava, spent considerable time debating the feature set and user experience internally before launch.

The goal is not to have people upload long videos or clips of copyrighted material. To reinforce that, videos can be only 90 seconds in length and 150MB in size (however these limitations may be changed later, Srivastava says).

In a phone prebriefing, I was very critical of the length limitation. But the team then brought me in for a demo and I was sold. The short clips are a perfect compliment to event photos, in my opinion.

Videos are treated the same way as photos and are placed alongside those photos in albums and the main stream. Videos can also be tagged (and geotagged) in the same way as photos.

The video player itself is extremely clean, so videos look like photos on pages that include them. Videos can also be embedded, of course, as we’ve done above.

Another great feature is the ability to play the videos from the thumbnail screens as well as the permanent page for the video.

Flickr video also differentiates itself from YouTube by only allowing pro users upload videos (it costs $25/yr to be a pro user), although both free and pro users can view videos. As with photos, videos can be made public or private. They can also be shared/embedded individually or as part of sets. But like YouTube, Flickr is providing an API for programmers to create services that access videos hosted on Flickr.

Other standard Flickr features are also available for video, such as search by tags and descriptions, uploads directly from camera phones, and various licensing options.

With this launch, video sharing sites that have focused on privately shared videos should be worried. These include Motionbox, Viddyou, and Vimeo, among others.

Update: The Flickr blog blatantly rips off our puppet schtick: