Flickr finally inched out video hosting today, for pro users only and only up to 90 seconds. To tell the truth it’s not something that I’ve been calling for – it’s not as if there aren’t enough video sharing sites on the web. Flickr is the web-geeks’ photo sharing site of choice due to it’s fabulous API (imagine a video site with something similar, ooh the possibilities…), but it works so well due to it’s sense of community and I worry about the effect of video hosting on that.

I’m a cynical old sod, and when I started to work on The Big Picture (a photography project that uses Flickr heavily) I was very worried about the potential amount of moderation I’d need to do. To date I can count on one hand the number of photos I’ve had to block from our project (and only one I think for decency) out of nearly 30,000 and that’s a tribute to both the people of the West Midlands and Flickr users. Contrast the mostly civilised debate in Flickr comments to the bile and spam to be found on YouTube, and you’ll see perhaps what is a little worrying.

Yahoo videos doesn’t seem to have any web traction (in fact I wasn’t sure it existed, until I just checked), so adding video to Flickr is a good move for them, as long as it doesn’t detract from what makes Flickr so good.

The 90 second rule is maybe the saving grace – there’s not much copyright material you can fit into a minute and a half, a trail, an ad, but not music vids or swathes of Dr Who – so Flickr may not draw much traffic away from other sites, more host short videos from its current user-base.

If it makes it easy to blog them (and so far it seems to work very much like the photo system), especially auto-blog perhaps from your phone then that’s another thing I’d be willing to trust Flickr will above most other sites. And here’s how the blogged vids look:

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