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The New New Things

The oven timer just dinged and some of the things we’ve been cooking up in Flickr HQ are ready for serving. If you  want to dive right in, check out the new explore page and skip the rest of this post ;)

  • First up is clustering, a better way to explore photos through tags. You can still see the most recent photos with a given tag (say, summer) but now you can also root around the finer distinctions: summer beach vacations versus summer flowers and nature – and all the clusters are collected on one page. It’s neat!

    Here are some good tags to try: lion, cute, graduation, europe or even one of the classic search disambiguation problems like jaguar or turkey – nicely broken up into the country, the food and the thanksgiving favorite.

  • The other new feature is called interestingness and it’s huge! A long time in the making, interestingness is a ranking algorithm based on user behavior around the photos taking into account some obvious things like how many users add the photo to their favorites and some subtle things like the relationship between the person who uploaded the photo and the people who are commenting (plus a whole bunch of secret sauce).

    It’s huge because we have hundreds of thousands of photos uploaded every day – now we have a way to find the good ones: here are some of the best from December 11th, 2004 or check out this monthly calendar view of March 2005. There’s awesomeness no matter where you turn!

This is early days – now that the features are live we’ll be tweaking and testing, improving and enhacing — think of this as our v0.1 release —  but the results are already great. And it is wonderful to be able to build on top of the mountains of data that wash into Flickr every day: better search through people!

Posted by Stewart Butterfield
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