what’s cool about flickr?

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here’s a nice article on flickr.

to be fair, i’ve never uploaded any pictures to flickr.  i’ve read lots about it and have been particularly interested in it.  but my interest is in the infrastructure.  As the article points out, flickr is employing some good ideas like the REST style API, as well as a much more open business model.  they aren’t trying to lock anyone in.  Instead, they are trying to make a good product, and i think it is this desire which is amazing.  now they are able to develop their system according to what makes the most sense technically and even socially, rather than economically.

for me, the most important aspect of flickr is that they have produced a content management system, which allows users to put content online, without being concerned with how exactly it will be used.  i will correct on aspect to this – flickr has been successful, because they give users a clear understanding of a few of the benefits they will get by using flickr – this is what encourages people.  i won’t discount that.  however, the key idea is that the content is published, plan and simple.  the images are put online.  and from there, because of the REST style API, people have begun to produce some amazing ideas.  now they are able to work with the images which are online and tagged.  now, they can do so many things.

for me, this is the next generation of the web – the one in which we are less concerned about ‘webpages’, but are instead interested in just publishing – in tying our digital cameras, our text editors and our music collections into the web infrastructure.  at that point, we want to make sure we can use that information and we hope others can use it as well.