Kara Swisher

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Start Spreading the News: Yahoo Gets New Times Square Office, Offers Free Terabyte on Flickr and Updates Design to Look Like 2013

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At a media event in New York today, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a new office in Times Square for the Silicon Valley Internet giant.

“From one Mayor to another,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Mayer (get it?) about locating in Manhattan’s iconic location, which will house 500 Yahoo employees.

But not Tumblr, which will remain blissfully downtown, even after its $1.1 billion all-cash acquisition by Yahoo announced today.

“We’re very happy that Tumblr is a home-grown company,” said Bloomberg,

Irony alert: Yahoo’s new digs in the Big Apple is actually the old HQ of the New York Times.

“Twenty years ago there were a lot of Yahoos in New York,” said the Bloomberg, channeling Jackie Mason and then touting the local tech industry and reeling off the stats.

Boiled down: Geeks rule.

Mayer also talked briefly about the acquisition of Tumblr and repeated the trying-really-hard-to-be-wacky, “we’re going to try not to screw it up” promise.

Mayer then introduced another promise — a commitment to fix Yahoo’s last major acquisition screw-up, Flickr.

Yahoo exec Adam Cahan, who is in charge of the photo-sharing service and who uses the term “awesome” quite a lot, came on next to show the changes.

He introduced a new design, which looks kinda like Instagram and kinda like Flipboard and kinda like Apple and kinda like Facebook’s homepage. It does bring Yahoo up to speed with others in the key photo-sharing space, which is good.

(Sorry, I cannot be more detailed, since I could only see it via Internet, because AllThingsD.com was not invited to the event by Yahoo.)

From what I can tell, it’s very image-centric with big photos and little text.

Cahan also introed a new Google Android mobile version and said that Flickr will offer a terabyte of space for free to users, which is about 537,731 photos.

Then he talked about a terabyte a lot, claiming that “no other Internet company has offered you a terabyte” of space. (Well, I would imagine Google and Facebook will now do so in a New York minute.)

Some very nice man with a German accent demoed it. (Again, I am not there and did not see a name going by on screen, and I can’t ask Yahoo PR his name.)

It’s purty, for sure, and nice to be able to upload photos in their full fidelity without worrying about space constraints.

Mayer called it “spectacular,” “bigger” and, of course, “awesome.”

It is certainly much more striking than how the antiquated Flickr homepage used to look like — which was circa 1969. But, like I said, kinda like what others have already done, although these updates are certainly a welcome change for Flickr.

Mayer then ran a very cute video for the changes, which, well, was kinda like an Apple video.

“Flickr was awesome once and then it languished,” said Mayer, declaring victory already. “And now it’s awesome again.”

In a Q&A after, Mayer, Cahan and the nice German guy answered questions about integration of Tumblr and Flickr (not yet!); how it was like or not like Instagram (no cropping apparently — which is exactly what is fantastic about Instagram); the terabyte (it’s awesome!); and more Tumblr deets (you know them already); monetization; and a bizarre one about redundancy so you don’t lose photos.

Mayer also said that Yahoo had bought 11 billboards in Times Square to show off Flickr and noted there was a party after for the media. (Except the unchosen, so I am enjoying a nice glass of Cabernet all by my lonesome. Frankly, it’s awesome!)

(Photo credit: Kevin Tachman for Times Square Alliance.)


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google