Yahoo snaps up LookFlow to improve Flickr

Five LookFlow engineers will be joining Yahoo's Flickr team in San Francisco

Yahoo has acquired LookFlow, an image recognition company, as part of a plan to improve photo discovery on Flickr, Yahoo announced Wednesday.

LookFlow's technology uses machine learning to help people find and explore images. It's a goal shared by the team at Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service, LookFlow said on its website.

Five engineers at LookFlow -- and the technology they built -- will be brought to Yahoo's Flickr business in San Francisco, a Yahoo spokeswoman said in an email. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LookFlow's product will be incorporated into a future version of Flickr, LookFlow said. The company said it will also help Yahoo build a new "deep learning group."

Yahoo recently made some radical changes to Flickr, including a slickly designed photo layout and a free terabyte of storage, to "make it awesome again." It was just one of many redesigns and new product launches aimed at a larger reinvention for the company.

Flickr has roughly 90 million users, Yahoo has said. And a terabyte of storage can accommodate 530,000 high-quality photos, so it makes sense that Yahoo would want to make all those photos easier to find.

Flickr also has a US$499-a-year paid option, to give users 2 terabytes of storage.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is

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