I've always been annoyed by the significance we humans attach to numeric milestones just because they happen to involve a lot of zeros.
But 3 billion--the number of photos now housed at Flickr--is undoubtedly a big number, even if its intrinsic excitement diminishes when, for example, translated into octal as 26,264,057,000. It's also more notable when you consider that Flickr's 2 billionth shot arrived less than a year ago.
The 3 billionth photo, with the title camera-supplied name of DSC_2672_1, is a black-and-white shot of a door by Garrett Ryan Smith. (But if it's the 3 billionth, how come the number in the photo's URL is 2,999,245,289?)
Of course, Facebook has more than 10 billion photos. But while that site has a lot of social activity, it's not the haven for photography enthusiasts that Flickr has become. At the Yahoo site, many join groups of like-minded photographers, comment on each other's shots, and share advice on forums.
Flickr noted the milestone on its Flickr blog on Monday.
Update 8:55 p.m. PST: I heard back from Smith, and those of you longtime Flickr loyalists hoping to achieve some sort of immortality through getting the 3 billionth photo may be distressed to hear you were beaten out by a newbie who was looking for a place to share some pictures.
"I have been using Flickr for less than a week now," he said. "My future sister-in law had her first child last week I had my camera with me and took a round of photos...We figured this would be a good way to share the photos with everyone across the United States and also with a family friend serving overseas."
The shot itself is of a door on an abandoned house in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, he said.
"Since Katrina hit I have been back to New Orleans numerous times and still cannot believe what it looks like three years later, especially in the Lower Ninth Ward area," he said.
Editor's note, 3:02 p.m. PST: It appears there are two URLs for the same shot, the one noted above, and this one, with the appropriate 3,000,000,000 at the end.