🎁 Unsplash Release: Fuller, Toa, and the Nathans

This is everything the Unsplash team created over three 6-week product roadmaps from September to December. We hope you enjoy it.

Our last three roadmaps are named in honour of some of our favourite long-time Unsplash contributors:

To all of these creators, thank you for inspiring us to create 🙌

🔍 A new Unsplash Search system

As we teased in previous updates, Aaron, Bruno, Roberta, and Tim have been working on a completely revised search system named Cervantes 🔥. Under the hood, everything has changed, including an entirely new metadata system, a new reindexing layer for elasticsearch, and models powered by the latest in machine learning.

In November we rolled the system out to partial production load via an experiment, and by December the system supported 100% of the traffic on unsplash.com and the API.

We still have a lot more to do including iterating on the matching algorithm, adding more machine learning models, and better exposing the metadata to contributors, which will all come in future releases.

📸 Unsplash’s new uploaders

The old Unsplash uploader served us well, powering the first 750,000 uploads to Unsplash. With the constraints of the uploader relaxed now that photos no longer require tags due to the new Cervantes search system, Kirill and Charles took the opportunity to redesign the upload flow to focus on speed and ease of submission.

Our web team, Sami and Olly, integrated these new designs into unsplash.com, adding support for multi-uploads and handling all of the edge cases around partial uploads, errors, and retries smartly under the hood. For more, check out Olly’s article on the challenges behind this simple design and the open-sourced uploader.

On iOS, Olivier added the ability to upload, enabling any contributor to upload directly from their camera roll. In the process, he also added authentication, basic user management functions, and contributor stats to round out a major release for contributors on iOS.

💅 Unsplash gets a new look

Kirill and Charles worked with our talented friend Mackey Saturday to redesign the Unsplash logo, sunsetting the old camera logo after 5+ years.

Check out the coverage in Brand New and Mackey’s write-up on the redesign.

⭐️ New API tooling for developers

To help support the 50k developers building with the Unsplash API, our team rolled out a handful of updates to the API.

Most notably we open-sourced an all new SDK for easily incorporating Unsplash into any iOS application. Olivier worked with our friend Nicolas Bichon to make the SDK as simple as possible, allowing any developer to search and select Unsplash photos with as few as 7 lines of code.

We also opened up support for dynamic image URLs, allowing any developer to piggy back on Unsplash’s realtime resizing and cropping functionality with simple, query-based parameters. This is the same technology that we use to power Unsplash for iOS and unsplash.com, and we’ve now made this available to all developers on the Unsplash platform 🙌.

🏆 The 2018 Unsplash Awards

Kirill, Annie, Steph, Wyn, Tanya, Pina, and Charles all banded together to help launch the second annual Unsplash Awards, celebrating the best in open photography from 2018.

This year’s awards saw support from 31 amazing institutions and communities, including Vice, Squarespace, Square, and Pinterest (to name just a few), helping spread the reach and awareness to an all new level.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed and a big shout out to all of the finalists.

🗂 Showcasing the best on Unsplash with Topics

With the Unsplash library continuing to expand in both quantity and diversity, our team has been rethinking how we feature imagery on Unsplash. We launched a new concept called Topics which expands the number of feeds from 2 to 17.

Topics covering categories like Current Events, Wallpapers, and Experimental allow us to showcase all new types of content, helping expand the discoverability of new contributions. Over time, we hope to expand the system to add deeper personalization and allow submitting directly to a topic.

👫 More from our team