Happy birthday, Flickr!

Today happens to be the 8th birthday of Flickr(s YHOO), a groundbreaking photo-sharing service that introduced to the world the founding principles of the social web: community, sharing, openness and social connections. It was a service that first told all of us that “liking” was as meaningful as actually creating photos themselves.

Thomas Hawk, a longtime member of the Flickr community writes:

Today is Flickr’s 8th Birthday. Whatever you may or may not think of the service today, without a doubt Flickr pioneered social photography. I joined Flickr during year one in August of 2004, shortly after it was launched to the public. What I found there was more than just a place to host my photos, I found a vibrant community full of great photographers who were willing and eager to engage with each other through the site. I found an audience that appreciated creativity and the ability for us to come together and share art in mostly a non-commercial setting.

When Yahoo bought the company — I broke the news — it was pretty clear that Ludicorp, the tiny Vancouver-based company behind Flickr, could change the search engine, which at that time was trying to differentiate itself from its main rival, Google (s GOOG). Of course, none of that came to pass. Flickr today languishes in the shadow of newer photo sharing services such as Instagram. It never really adapted to mobile. The beautiful, simple user experience has become cluttered.

Yahoo has never really appreciated what it has in Flickr: a community of passionate people who share moments and experiences through photos — a concept  that has since found its way into Path, Instagram, 500px and Facebook. Talking about Facebook — it is 8 years old too and is about to become the greatest wealth creation engine since Google.