Yahoo Inc. will close its online photo album service in favour of photo-sharing site Flickr, which incorporates social networking features.

People making the move to Flickr will have about three months to transfer their images, according to a statement on Yahoo's website.

Yahoo Photos users will also be able to download their images, or order CDs and prints at a discounted rate.

Yahoo Photos users will be able to transfer their files to Flickr in a one-click process, or opt to move to competing services such as Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly, which offer their own photo-transfer tools, according to a statement on Yahoo's website.

Yahoo bought Flickr for an undisclosed sum in 2005 and moved the operations from Vancouver to the internet media giant's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"We have no interest in forcing anyone to switch to Flickr," Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield was quoted as saying on the TechCrunch technology news blog. "We want happy users."

Butterfieldcreated Flickr in 2004 with his wife, Caterina Fake.

Yahoo Photos stores about 2 billion images, compared to 500 million on Flickr, which takes advantage of so-called Web 2.0 features, such as the ability to "tag" images with unique descriptors or keywords, annotate a region of a photo, and share comments and images with others through social networking tools.