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With Its Flickr iOS Update, Yahoo Swaps Out Aviary For Newly Acquired GhostBird Tech; Says It’s Keeping It On The Web

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Earlier today, a new iOS update landed for Flickr that sports new, enhanced filters and other photo editing options among its new features, and when I wrote about it I wondered aloud if it was the first signs of a speedy integration of GhostBird, a photo app developer that Yahoo acquired in June of this year. Turns out this was right. And it also turns out that, as a result, Yahoo is dropping Aviary as a technology provider on its mobile app, although for now it is keeping Aviary in its web app.

“Aviary is a great partner and we’re excited to continue working closely with them on Flickr for web,” a spokesperson told me. “But with this iOS update, we’ve integrated technology and features from our recent acquisition of GhostBird Software.”

The change underscores a Yahoo very much still in flux as it looks for the right mix of products that will bring in the punters and keep them coming back for more.

Photo Filters
Aviary-powered filters

Yahoo had incorporated Aviary technology into its iOS app as recently as December 2012 — an important moment for Flickr and Yahoo, since it was the first update in a year for the app, and a signal that things were going to be different from there on in.

Yahoo’s relationship with Aviary, meanwhile, started back in April 2012, when Yahoo partnered with Aviary to replace Picnik, acquired and shut down by Google. Around the same time that Aviary got added to Flickr’s iOS app, it also picked up Twitter as a user of its photo filter and editing SDK.

flickr update
GhostBird-powered filter

Apart from things like a basically different user interface (one where the filter tabs are pretty big), the swap means a degradation of some features, and the appearance of others. Red eye removal and blemish fixes are out; light and saturation levels reminiscent of those from GhostBird’s KitCam app are in.

Yahoo wouldn’t say whether it plans eventually to update the Android and Web apps to look like the Flickr experience on iOS with GhostBird-powered editing, except to note, “We’re continuing to update Flickr on every device.”

Its latest Flickr Android app was released on May 20. That will include additions that will go beyond storage and deeper into creation. “At Flickr we know that taking photos is one of our users’ favorite daily habits and we’re continuing to make Flickr available wherever our users are.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 18.10.12Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 18.09.31

As for what that might mean in terms of relationships with other companies, as Yahoo continues to fill out its ambition under Marissa Mayer as a product-focused company, it makes sense that they’re putting some of their many acquisitions to use and thereby moving off of third-party products where that works.

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