June 12, 2007 / 4:37 AM / in 10 years

Flickr goes international with seven new languages

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Flickr, the popular online photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo Inc., said on Monday it is moving to further internationalize its service by creating versions in seven major languages besides English.

The three-year-old service, which was founded in Vancouver, Canada by the husband-and-wife team of Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, already sees more than half of its users coming from outside the United States.

Flickr said it is set to introduce sites in French, German, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and traditional Chinese, with other languages to follow. A Japanese site remains in the works with independently operated Yahoo Japan Corp..

“These are the markets where Flickr is taking off already,” Butterfield said in an interview.

“Why are we only getting around to this now?” he asked self-mockingly. “There are two answers. One: We are stupid. Two: that we are late.”

As of April, Flickr had 24 million active monthly users, according to online audience measurement firm comScore Inc. Fifty-five percent come from overseas and the rest are located in the United States, according to internal company figures.

Flickr was first to popularize the notion of Web site “tagging,” the simple trick of applying short words or phrases to help other Web users find material of interest.

The sites users have added around 12.5 million unique tags, including generic words and geographic and other names, according to Butterfield. There are some 525 million photos stored on Flickr, the company said in a statement.

Besides the United States, the top other two countries for Flickr users are Britain and Canada, Butterfield said, citing internal company data. Germany, Brazil, Spain, France and then Australia make up the next five countries in terms of users.

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