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Yahoo Touches Up Photo-Sharing Service
[June 07, 2006]

Yahoo Touches Up Photo-Sharing Service

(AP) Yahoo Touches Up Photo-Sharing Service
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE
AP Business Writer
SAN FRANCISCO
Yahoo Inc. is touching up its online photo-sharing service so it's easier to sort and distribute digital pictures, continuing a recent overhaul of the world's most trafficked Web site.

The changes announced Wednesday evening follow last month's makeover of Yahoo's front page, described by the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company as its most extensive redesign in a decade.

Although Yahoo has long drawn the Internet's largest audience, it is facing tougher competition from online search engine leader Google (News - Alert) Inc. as well as News Corp.'s MySpace.com, a Web magnet among teens.

With its stock price down by 22 percent so far this year, Yahoo also is under pressure to boost its profits. Those earnings hinge on the advertising attracted by the size of Yahoo's audience.

The latest upgrades include new tools to categorize photos so they are easier to find under specific keywords like "baby," "baseball" and "barbecue." This "tagging" concept was pioneered by Flickr, another picture sharing service acquired by Yahoo last year.

Flickr's approach helped inspire an online movement that has spurred more sharing of Internet content, prompting Time magazine to include the service's founders -- the husband-and-wife team of Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield -- on its recent list of the world's 100 most influential people. Fake and Butterfield remained with Flickr after the Yahoo takeover.

This marks the first time that Yahoo's main photo site has incorporated Flickr's technology, said Will Aldrich, who oversees the company's service. Yahoo also is adapting some of the technology picked up from Oddpost, another startup acquired last year, so photos can be dragged and dropped into digital trays.


Yahoo realized it had to make it easier to manage online photos as more people moved their photo albums online. Aldrich said about 2 billion photos are stored on Yahoo's service, whose biggest competitors include Photobucket.com, Webshots.com, Shutterfly.com and Snapfish.com.

In April, Yahoo operated the Web's second-most popular photo-sharing site, attracting 7.7 million U.S. visitors to rank just behind Photobucket's 7.8 million visitors, according to the most recent statistics from Nielsen/NetRatings Inc. Flickr's traffic more than quadrupled during the past year to 4.8 million U.S. visitors to emerge as the fastest-growing photo site, Nielsen/NetRatings said.

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