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Yahoo Retools Flickr as CEO Chases Facebook to Twitter

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) is revamping its Flickr photo application for smartphones as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer vies with Facebook Inc. (FB) and Twitter Inc. for mobile users.

An upgraded version of Flickr introduced today for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone lets users share images with groups as well as edit, crop and apply color filters to photos, Brett Wayn, a vice president and general manager at Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, said in an interview.

As a growing number of consumers use smartphone cameras to document their daily lives and share events with friends, Mayer is upgrading Flickr to compete with Twitter, which added photo- sharing tools to its mobile app this week, and Facebook, which bought the picture app Instagram earlier this year. Upgrades may help Flickr, with more than 80 million monthly users worldwide, that attract more smartphone users in a handset market which researcher IDC projects will surge 45 percent to 717.5 million units this year.

Flickr is “a brand and product that’s absolutely associated with people who love creating and sharing and discovering photographs,” Wayn said.

Earlier this week, Yahoo upgraded its e-mail service to be faster and easier to navigate on the Internet, smartphones and tablets.

Hiring Engineers

Mayer plans to invest in hiring engineers with expertise in mobile applications, boosting the company’s technology for buying and serving ads, and building services that are more personalized for individual users.

Flickr’s new image editing tools were created in partnership with Aviary Inc., a New York-based photo-app developer that also helped create similar features for Twitter’s mobile app.

Following Mayer’s appointment to CEO in July, a Flickr user created a website with the address dearmarissamayer.com. It contained the message: “Make Flickr Awesome Again.” That’s a plea that the company has heard, said Wayn.

“We are investing in Flickr to make it more awesome,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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