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Flickr is unveiling its new site design on February 28th. Will it be enough to entice new users to join the site?

Our blog has been pretty sparse on the Flickr news since our case study about the photo-sharing site a few years ago. To be fair, Flickr has pretty much stayed out of the limelight since Yahoo’s acquisition of the service – until yesterday afternoon. Flickr announced that some big-time design changes were coming to its service; here’s a run-down of what you can expect from Flickr in the near future.

In March 2011, Markus Spiering took over at the Flickr helm in the head product management role. Since then, it seems like Spiering has been hard at work with his 45 Flickr employees to design a new interface to revitalize the website. The unveiling of the new website will happen on February 28th.

Not only will the look of the homepage be updated to look more sleek and modern, but the upload page will be revamped as well. The goal, Spiering said, was to make the website look less like a website, and more like an app. With all the hype surrounding the mobile marketplace and the success app makers have been having since the onslaught of smartphones, it sounds like a solid business model.

Some have thought that since Yahoo bought Flickr, the company was just letting the resource go to waste. But, contrary to those rumors, last month Yahoo fired a handful of technical support employees so that Flickr support would be integrated with Yahoo support. That way, Flickr users could enjoy round the clock help online. That definitely seems like an investment into making Flickr the photo-hosting site of the Internet.

Also, Spiering points out all the work Yahoo has done to integrate Flickr across a variety of its products. For example, Yahoo weather includes photos from Flickr that match the weather and location of the weather a user is checking. Spiering also hinted that Flickr would be integrated into Yahoo Mail in the near future. His hopes are high for the future, based on the 3.5 million photos that are uploaded to Flickr every day.

As far as updates to the model and design of the site itself, Flickr implemented a new pricing structure just last month. The newest pricing option for users is Flickr Pro, a three-month subscription for $6.95. Additionally, the company lowered its two-year subscription fee by $5.

For the expectations that many have about Flickr’s new direction, the website faces stiff competition. Flickr had the chance to jump into the mobile market (as one article puts it, “the chance to become Instagram before Instagram was Instagram”) and missed the boat. Also, Google’s social network Google Plus and the company’s own photo-hosting site Picasa hold a strong chunk of the online photo-hosting market already. Surprisingly, Flickr’s API is one of the most popularly implemented API’s online today. A few years ago, it was in fact the most popular (but was overthrown by the Facebook API).

So what exactly will users see on February 28th? Right now, Flickr has a ton of white space and pictures laid out in static rows and columns. The new layout jigsaws pictures together, allowing users to scroll endlessly. The redesign makes the homepage look remarkably similar to Pinterest, with good reason. As Pinterest interest has exploded across the Internet, companies would do well to take a leaf out of the newest social network’s book.

As for the upload page, users can still click a link to upload their picture, but the site is also enabling the drag ‘n drop feature. Finally, after pictures are dropped on the page, the thumbnails will appear on the same page so users can immediately begin tagging, captioning, and grouping their freshly uploaded photos.

All in all, it sounds like Flickr is coming back to focus on user acquisition in the online photo-hosting market. And the company hasn’t been generating all of this buzz themselves. Read up on the latest operating system release from Apple (named Mountain Lion) to see how Flickr is being integrated into Apple desktops.