The rumors were true, as it turns out, and the official announcement was made today on the FlickrBlog: Yahoo actually does acquire Flickr.

Holy smokes, SOMEBODY out there is bad at keeping secrets!!  Yes! We can finally confirm that Yahoo has made a definitive agreement to acquire Flickr and us, Ludicorp. Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks!

While I’m sure this is good news for both Yahoo! and Flickr, I have to admit that in some ways, I’m a little less than thrilled that Yahoo! is the winning buyer. While the Flickr post assures us that “nothing will change”, that’s the mantra we get every time there’s a merger of this sort, and I just hope it’s true.

My main concern is simply that I’ve never been overly impressed with Yahoo’s Mac support. The main offenders are Yahoo! Messenger — admittedly, a downloadable program and not a web-based offering — and Yahoo! Chat. The Mac version of Yahoo! Messenger has perpetually lagged years behind the PC version in terms of what features it offers, and I’ve never been able to get Yahoo! Chat to work reliably under Mac OS X.

Flickr, on the other hand, has worked flawlessly for me from day one, I quite happily paid to upgrade to a Pro account some time back, and was just recommending them to my brother last night when he and I were talking about how horrendously slow the family photo gallery hosted on my server can be (I can only afford so much bandwidth, after all).

Still, I’m not about to entirely write them off — as I’ve said, Flickr’s ben great so far, and I’m hoping that the acquisition by Yahoo! will be primarily a case of Yahoo! getting to add an incredible set of services to their system, and not one of Flickr being forced to dumb things down to coddle the lowest common denominator of Yahoo! subscribers.

Besides, I’m very curious about this section of the post aimed at those of us who have already paid for Pro accounts:

I liked Flickr BEFORE you even heard of it!

You shall be recognized for your discerning taste in web sites!! I bet you also liked the Flaming Lips before they appeared on Beverly Hills 90210, and for that we salute you. Pro account holders will get super mega bonuses, to be announced soon.

Super mega bonuses, huh? Gotta like the sound of that!

(via Jonas)

Update: Yahoo!’s Jeremy Zawodny has some encouraging things to say about the merger:

The first time I used Flickr, I knew it was something different and something important. It took me a while to figure out and try to articulate exactly what that was, but I took my first swipe back in September when I called it a Next Generation Web Service.

[…]

Since then a lot has happened and I’ve had the chance to meet the Flickr team a few times. That has only convinced me even more that they have what it takes to really change things. Combining their mix of tagging, communities, syndication, open APIs, and interactive UI with Yahoo’s services and millions of users will lead to even more great stuff.

As Caterina wrote, this isn’t about just throwing millions of users at Flickr or bolting Flickr onto Yahoo! Photos. Think more deeply about it. There are many parts of Yahoo that will be Flickrized in the coming months. And with more resources available, Flickr itself will be able to grow like never before.

Sounds like the concerns I’ve brought up are rather well-known in the Yahoo!/Flickr camps, which is encouraging. Time to just sit back and see where things go from here.

(via Stewart in FlickrCentral)

iTunesMedusa Bitch (cry.on.my.console)” by Prodigy, The from the album Always Outsiders Never Outdone (2004, 2:37).