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Flickr goes international

By Stevie Smith Jun 13, 2007, 16:26 GMT

Following on from recent news that Google-owned YouTube is mulling over the possibility of widening its international video-sharing scope with the introduction of foreign language derivatives, this week sees popular photo-sharing haven Flickr making similar moves to further its online appeal.

More pointedly, Yahoo-owned Flickr, one of the Net’s leading destinations for social photo-sharing, has said it is planning to broaden the reach of its service by introducing new Flickr iterations in seven other major languages beyond the current central English model. The move perhaps makes perfect sense given that Flickr, which was launched in February 2004 by Canadian founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, is already seeing over half of its traffic emanating from countries other than the United States.

According to a related Reuters report, Flickr has stated that it intends to integrate new sites offering up French, German, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and traditional Chinese for its international user base. A separate Japanese language site is already under construction through Yahoo Japan Corp., which is operated independently from Yahoo Inc. Also, Flickr has intonated that other unconfirmed foreign language variations of the service may well follow this initial crop.

In terms of why the aforementioned languages have been targeted first, Stewart Butterfield explained that those particular choices are connected to markets where Flickr is proving popular outside of North America. And when asked why it’s taken so long to move Flickr into other languages, Butterfield’s answer is simple and two-fold: "One: We are stupid. Two: that we are late."

With 525 million photographic images already stored in its archive, Flickr presently boasts some 24 million active users globally, according to figures provided by online traffic measurement company comScore Inc. Of that number, only 45 percent is attributed to the United States, which is a strong draw for widening Flickr’s language options. Outside of the top three countries utilising the service (US, Britain, and Canada), the following five nations are Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, and Australia.



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