Yahoo finally released an app for its popular Flickr photography service. Unfortunately, this first version could use a sharper focus.
Once you have authorized your account to use Flickr with the iPhone (Safari launches, groan), you can view your photostream (complete, or via sets or tags) or your contacts’ photostreams and favorites. Also, you can search Flickr’s entire database, your photos or your contact photos. There is no ability to search via groups or collections, and the app doesn’t support Flickr’s Explore function.
In some ways the upload function is great. There is space for you to add a title and a description to the photo. You can add the photo to a previous set or create a new one. The app imports your previous tags, which you select with a tap, or you can add new words. You can also geotag the photo and select its privacy level.
However, when you actually upload the image, progress is sluggish. For starters, you can't do anything else while you upload images one at a time. Annoyingly, there is not a batch upload option. Your photos also only upload at a max resolution of 800 x 600. (I have a 3G iPhone and I understand 3Gs users will have full resolution.) The app also strips out most Exif data, which tracks metadata tags related to photos, so your images show the date and location of upload instead of where a picture was taken.
I also find it aggravating that if you select the wrong photo from your library to upload, cancel takes you back to the home screen rather than into your library. There’s no way to delete photos or edit descriptions from your phone.
When viewing photostreams, you can view images like in the iPhone’s photo library, but there is no support for zoom pinching or pulling. The Flickr app also only shows 40 images at a time, even in slideshow mode. This forces you to start and stop the show at the end of each batch, extremely annoying if you’re viewing a decent-sized photostream.
I do like the feature of inline email for forwarding photos and the ability to leave comments from my phone. But there is no way to add new contacts or to save images you like with tap and hold. For a free app, the opening slideshow is pretty awesome, but die-hard Flickr fans will be disappointed and should hold out for an update.