Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Coming Soon to Flickr: Print and Book Ordering (and Don't Miss the Tagfight)

Flickr, the dazzling photo sharing site that is occupying more and more of my time, is on the verge of adding the ability to order prints and photo books.

This news comes from a set of oh-so-obvious leaks from Flickr itself. Earlier this month, Flickr's Eric Costello spilled the beans in a fascinating interview: "With most of the other photo sharing sites, they seem to be mainly about facilitating the ordering of prints. Which is a fine goal, and soon enough in Flickr you’ll be able to order prints, which is a much-requested feature from our users."

Then, just a few days ago, Derek Powazek wrote about receiving some "very special surprises" in the mail: a mosaic print (not unlike the Tiger mosaic project I presented last month) and an 8 by 10-inch photo book.

Powazek has posted more photos of the book on Flickr, and while the cover is lovely, the interior design is staid and bland. Let's hope the final books provide some more design sparkle. (See also Apple's iPhoto books.) At the very least, those photo titles ought to be left-aligned with the photos and their captions, not centered above them.

Not just mine. What I really hope is that Flickr will allow me to order books containing photos taken by other Flickr members. I'd love to order books from some of the photo pools I belong to—like poodles or My Dog Has an Awesome Tongue. This should be possible with photos that have the appropriate Creative Commons license.

I'd also like to have the option of printing a photo's comments along with the photo. The conversation that some photos inspire is one of the magic things about Flickr, and it'd be nice to have a printed record of it.

Tag Fight!
While we wait for more news leaks, there's another cool Flickr tool to try out instead of meeting that deadline. It's called FlickrTagFight, and it lets you compare two tags and see which is the most popular. (Tag is Flickrspeak for what iPhoto calls a keyword.)

Right now, as proof that Flickr members have a tough time getting up early, "sunset" is beating "sunrise" 88401 to 16127. See more battles and try the site out for yourself. I will tell you, ahem, that "Saturn" is kicking "Uranus."