Yahoo recruiting iOS developers to 'radically improve' Flickr

The company wants iPhone and iPad engineers who can build apps 'from scratch'

Yahoo's Flickr mobile app may be getting a completely new look in the months to come, as the company seeks to hire multiple iOS engineers to "radically improve" the photo-sharing site's app and attract new users, the company said in a recent job notice.

The company is looking to hire iOS developers for the Flickr mobile engineering team to work on "a tremendously long list of new features, programs and technologies set to come online this year," Yahoo said in a job posting that went up on the company website April 30.

The position's responsibilities would include developing iPhone and iPad apps "from scratch," using data provided by Flickr's API (application programming interface), Yahoo said. Applicants should possess a "strong visual design sense," according to the posting.

Over the coming months, Yahoo plans to "improve Flickr, both for new users and casual visitors as well as the power users who form the core of the community," the company also said.

Yahoo did not provide specifics in the posting on any particular features it was planning.

The company could not be immediately reached to comment on the posting.

The timing of the notice's posting makes sense for Yahoo, as the company is in the midst of a massive rebuilding effort to win back users and boost revenue, partly through the development of new mobile products.

Previously one of Silicon Valley's formidable Internet companies, in recent years Yahoo has struggled to compete against Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter. Mobile will be a top priority for the company in 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said during the company's first-quarter earnings call last month.

In terms of output at least, Yahoo so far is delivering on that promise. In late April, two new mobile apps for email and weather were announced. Then a new version of the Yahoo app itself was released, featuring news summaries made possible through the company's acquisition of London-based Summly. Just last week, Yahoo bought the to-do app Astrid.

Flickr gained some new functionalities last December, with the addition of a range of new filters that could be applied to photos, as well as editing tools to crop and straighten images and even add text.

The iOS app was last updated in March to allow users to apply hashtags to their photo's title or description.

But Flickr's popularity has waned as other photo-sharing apps such as Instagram and Snapchat have attracted users, especially young people, and as dedicated social networks such as Facebook and Twitter continue to grow.

Still, the changes Yahoo appears to be prepping for Flickr are needed, and Mayer is absolutely right to focus on mobile, said Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling.

"Flickr has been neglected for a long time until recently," he said. By bringing on more talent to improve the app, possibly from the ground up, Yahoo could be trying to make Flickr a stronger social property for the company, Sterling said, in the way that Instagram is to Facebook.

"Yahoo could be looking at Instagram as a model of where they want to take Flickr," he said.

Flickr has more than 75 million users, according to Yahoo.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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