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Yahoo! to drop Photos service for Flickr, video uploads coming soon

In a move that many consider a long time coming, Yahoo! should be announcing the closure of Yahoo! Photos some time today. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch got the scoop last night at a CEO dinner for Outcast, a PR event, from Brad Garlinghouse (Yahoo SVP Communications & Communities) and Stewart Butterfield (Cofounder of Flickr). The two said Photos would be slowly shut down over the next few months, with options to switch not only to Flickr, but also Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly. Of course, switching to Flickr will be a one-click process, but the other services have already built their own transitioning tools, and Yahoo! will be offering discounted prices on things like CDs and prints for Photos users. Showing an unusual openness to the competition during a transition like this, Butterfield told Arrington: "We have no interest in forcing anyone to switch to Flickr... We want happy users."

This move was brought on largely because of a recent and steady drop in traffic to Yahoo! Photos. While the doomed service surprisingly dwarfs Flickr in terms of total uploaded photos - 2 billion / 500 million, respectively - Flickr very recently overtook Yahoo! Photos in terms of growth and unique visitor traffic. This closure should create a significant spike for Flickr over the coming months, as we're betting that most users will probably opt for the one-click transition instead of dealing with any potential quirks from using the tools built by competing sites. Of course, time will tell, and it will be interesting to see just how well the move goes.

Also mentioned in brief at the very end of Arrington's post is Butterfield's confirmation that Flickr will "soon" do video, though we have no details or ETA on this much-requested feature. However, once this debuts, Flickr will then have both a rich and talented photography community, as well as the potential to become a serious competitor to the likes of YouTube, MySpace and Facebook once video is edited into the mix - if the community approves. Between these two major announcements, we're a bit more interested in how video will fare on a photo enthusiast's site. Stay tuned for more details.

Tags: flickr, kodak gallery, KodakGallery, michael arrington, MichaelArrington, photobucket, photos, shutterfly, snapfish, techcrunch, yahoo