Adam thinks that Flickr will be bought by Google early next year. This isn't the first "Google wants to buy Flickr" rumor I've heard, but it is the first one I've seen on a blog.

As a Flickr user and an out of the closet Flickr fan, I'm always worried when anyone talks of great little companies being bought by a Big Company. Why? Big Companies have a way of buying cool services and then making them way less cool. One of the best examples I read of that is the story of Nullsoft.

I think Google has a good track record in this department so far (namely Picasa and Blogger), but I'd just hate to see a great service like Flickr get screwed up before its time.

Posted by jzawodn at December 26, 2004 07:29 AM

Reader Comments
# Hanan Cohen said:

I don't know on what basis you write that Google have a good track record with Blogger. Yes, they did a great facelift but the service is sometimes very slow down to unusable. Thinking "Google" and "slow" sounds strange, but that's a (sad) fact of life.

on December 26, 2004 07:59 AM
# Thomas said:

Also Orkut is quite slow during US day time. I personally would love to see more small, nice companies surviving and not following the call of money. I think the smaller companies that try to survive usually are more enthusiastic and also provide much better service. Just thinking about the search industry I personally like the folks at Mirago a lot because they're nice and try to sell "their" product and not their companys product.

on December 26, 2004 08:11 AM
# Hashim said:

actually, Blogger used to be slower and buggier. Google has improved it plenty.

On the flip side of what Jeremy is saying I get nervous when great services on the web don't charge any money. I have a fear that they will eventually disappear and take all of the info I've built up with them.

on December 26, 2004 08:29 AM
# jjg said:

"they did a great facelift"

For what it's worth, our redesign of Blogger was initiated entirely by the legacy Pyra team. No Google resources or management were involved. The technical improvements to Blogger, however -- which have been substantial -- are entirely due to the Blogger group's access to Google's considerable technical resources.

on December 26, 2004 10:52 AM
# Victor said:

Remember Geocities?

on December 26, 2004 11:16 AM
# Greg K. said:

So why then do you work for a Big Company that makes things way less cool? Why not work for the small "cool" companies?

on December 26, 2004 11:39 AM
# Neil T. said:

Google buying Flickr would be interesting, but I hope it doesn't happen so soon. Flickr is still in its early innovative stages - if Google has any sense, it will wait at least several more months before buying them out.

on December 26, 2004 11:59 AM
# Hanan Cohen said:

jjg, you wrote something very interesting.

Google bought Pyra on February 2003. The redesign was announced on May 2004. How come "No Google resources or management were involved."?

Is the Pyra team not a part of Google in any sense?

on December 26, 2004 12:42 PM
# PaulT said:

Google have already messed up one of the most reasonable services out there : dejanews, which they've accuired very long time ago (that is what is currently called Google groups). No longer I can sort threads by date or search by poster's email (those were the only operations I've used, actually)

Google is MS of the Internet, the 'natural' monopolist, polluting the Internet ecosystem the way MS did polluted the desktop ecosystem.

I hardly remember yahoo or any other big guy to mess up the existing service the way Google messed up it's 'Groups' service.

on December 26, 2004 12:54 PM
# Dave Winer said:

I agree that Google screwed up Blogger. Before Google owned them they were producing nice normal RSS 0.91 feeds. Certainly not the latest and greatest, but quite functional, and helpful.

Then Blogger seemed to embark on a campaign to destroy RSS. They seemingly did everything they could to undermine it. When I asked for an explanation I was met with either silence or whining. They never adequately explained why they needed to do syndication so differently from everyone else. I felt in many ways like I was talking to Apple people in the late 80s or early 90s. In fact the top engineering guy at Google, Wayne Rosing, came from Apple of that period. He's a good guy though, and he wasn't the whining sort, although he was the silent sort.

On the other hand, recent (encouraging) conversations seem to indicate this might have had more to do with the old Pyra crew feeling unloved inside the BigCo and wanting to flex its muscles outside the company, than it had with any corporate need to do something to hurt RSS.

on December 26, 2004 01:29 PM
# Matt said:

I agree with Jeremy for the most part. As an active member at flickr, I would dislike to see them acquired by a large company like Google. I think much of the current atmosphere there would be lost if taken over by a large corporation such as Google.

Personally I don't think Google has done anything noteworthy with blogger. I constantly get timeout's with them in the administration area or unreachable blogspot pages (thus driving me to no longer use them). It's annoying. I also agree that Atom is pointless. RSS does what is needed and was already so widely supported. It just seems like it was something for them to use their power to "make a mark" even if that mark wasn't beneficial to anyone.

on December 26, 2004 02:09 PM
# Dare Obasanjo said:

My opinion may be tainted since I work for the competition but I'm also similarly underwhelmed by what Google has done with Blogger since they purchased it.

The only recent blog posting I've seen about Picasa is which is a report about why a user is switching to another product.

I suspect if Google buys Flickr, we might see a repeat of the Blogger experience and the service stops innovating. Time will tell though.

on December 26, 2004 05:59 PM
# Jeramey Jannene said:

I would hate to see Google or any other company buy Flickr. I personally prefer having numerous small companies all being innovating players rather than a few real big players such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are on path to become.

on December 27, 2004 01:56 PM
# Christopher Baus said:

I agree on blogger. The commenting system is terrible. I hate that you have to register to leave a comment. They might claim this is reduce comment spam, but I think the real reason it to try to make blogger an island community like LiveJournal.

Sometimes I wonder what caused Ev to leave so soon after the IPO.

on December 27, 2004 04:20 PM
# Mr. Dew said:

I dislike Blogger's commenting system too. I prefer a simple pop up and I just type. They should at least retain thelook and feel of the blog instead of changing the looks of it as the user want to comment.

on December 28, 2004 07:04 PM
# Kannappan said:

As echoed by a few others here, me too of the same feeling that let there be more small innovative players than giants who go to any extent to grab a lion's share of business.

on December 31, 2004 09:56 AM
# Ian said:

I think Google have done a great job with groups compared to deja news. Gmail is looking good and certainly got Hotmail and Yahoo going in terms of workable storage space. I did not like blogger and setup b2evolution primarily because I wanted unlimited photo space. I have since found out it is wanting in terms of photo function and no thumbnails. I am here because I like what I see with Flickr. I would not put Google in the same group as Microsoft but it would not be good for them to own everything. Google has a better grip on the internet than Microsoft so I am glad Microsoft don't own Google.

on January 2, 2005 04:26 AM
# dowingba said:

"I agree on blogger. The commenting system is terrible. I hate that you have to register to leave a comment."

Yeah, that's so much worse than the commenting system Blogger had before. Oh wait, they didn't have one. The new WYSIWYG editor is also pretty innovative, I hear.

on January 9, 2005 09:52 PM
# Darren said:

Deja was going under anyway - Google just intervened at the last minute to snap up the archive. They might have handled the transition differently, but they had a revamped Groups within months. Beats losing the archive altogether, which was a real possibility.

on January 19, 2005 07:25 PM
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