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Flickr Launches

A little over a week ago, in writing about joining Ludicorp's board of directors, I wrote the following:

Along with their public work on GNE, they've been in stealth mode, working on a new application of their technologies -- the idea for which their advisory board and I all feel strongly to be extremely compelling. Stay tuned for more in the very near future.
This project is now out of stealth mode. Stewart Butterfield launched Flickr during his talk at the Emerging Technologies Conference in San Diego.

From an end-user viewpoint, Flickr is chat + photo sharing + social networking. If you think about it from a photo sharing-centric point of view (which is only one way of looking at it), the social networking determines with whom you want to share your photos, while the chat provides a narrative context for them. But it's subtler than that. Is Flickr a photo sharing application? Yes. Is it a chat service? Yes. Is it a social networking tool? Yes.

In any case, Flickr is very, very cool, and well worth a try.

From a technical standpoint, Flickr is built on Ludicorp's existing engine technology, which means it's a Flash front end communicating with a J2EE back end using an XML-based protocol. The amazing thing is that the current public beta of Flickr represents just two months of work -- that's how long ago Stewart had the idea and decided to focus on it. Honestly, I'm blown away to see how much the team has accomplished in such a short period of time.

Congratulations to Stewart, Caterina, and the whole team at Ludicorp!

(Coverage of Flickr: Marc Canter, Cory Doctorow, Caterina Fake, Myles Grant, Ross Mayfield.)

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