I have had a couple of conversations both online and offline around Flickr's possible addition of video to their service. Mostly, those I talk to want to tell me what an awful idea this is and how it will ruin the photo sharing service that has become quite popular. Now, let me say up front I don't know if Flickr's implementation of video will be a success or a failure or even if they are actually doing it. Providing web-based services is a very complex and challenging game. But I imagine if it fails those who said it was a bad idea will argue they tried to do too much and should have left it alone. However, the idea that Flickr shouldn't try new ideas such as video is just crazy to me. In fact, I suggest not doing it could be the death of the service.
If you know a little about how Flickr became the poster child of web2.o and social networking then you might know that they actually started as a online game developer. They had created an online game and were building a fairly passionate user base. However, they noticed that it was not generating enough revenue to sustain their employees for the long term. At some point they decided that they would use the remainder of their capital to develop a photo sharing site. However, it was not looked upon favorable by everyone and they actually had to take a vote on changing the direction of the company. (Please note, I listened to a podcast where one of the Flickr founders discussed these events and if any of the specific details are wrong, I am sorry, but generally this is how the story went.)
I'll bet those who think Flickr should stay away from video would have completely advised them against developing an online photography sharing site. They would have voted no and decided to keep things the same. "We've been doing games for a long time and that is what we do." They would say, "I don't think we should try something new at this point."
But as history has shown the Flickr team made the change, understanding that they knew how to engage users, executed the new plan, and made history.
Now, as part of Yahoo, they may be considering how to leverage that understanding of providing engaging and useful tools to people who want to share video on the web. Thus increasing their reach and providing a much needed service to a market desperate to get better online tools.
Now that said, if you as a user/person can't get excited about video and really can't stand the idea of an icon or button one your flickr page that says video or having to search images only to filter out the videos. Then yeah, it might be awful or ruined and as with all software, using it is a personal preference and you will have to make a decision on whether you want to use it or not.
I've got to believe that if Flickr implements a solution for video that is as useful and easy as their solution for photos it will be a huge success. I also wonder, if they don't innovate, continue to push the envelope, change directions, and continue to prove their value in the market, then someone else would come along, create a new awesome service that allows me to manage all my media online and I would start looking into how to transfer my 8000 images from Flickr to this new service that already houses my 400 videos. But that's just me ;)