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Google Takes On Photoshop With Picnik Purchase

Gordon Kelly


Google Takes On Photoshop With Picnik Purchase

There are many concepts about Cloud computing which alienate people, but while a lot can be overcome one of the most frequently cited is the Cloud's ability to handle complex image editing. So could Google's latest move be about to change that?

The search giant has announced the purchase of online photo editing service Picnik for an undisclosed cost, but admitted:

"We're not announcing any significant changes to Picnik today, though we'll be working hard on integration and new features. As well, we'd like to continue supporting all existing Picnik partners so that users will continue to be able to add their photos from other photo sharing sites, make edits in the cloud and then save and share to all relevant networks."

While nothing will drag me away from Photoshop at present, Picnik is certainly the best online photo editing suite I've tried up until now. It is fast, has an intuitive UI and integrates well with 'Web 2.0' sites such as Picasa Web Albums, Flickr and Facebook. Furthermore, with Google's financial muscle behind it the potential for greatly accelerated advancement is now on the cards.

If you haven't tried Picnik, I'd suggest giving it a whirl...

In related Google news the company has also outted a new beta of Chrome. Version 5.0 promises further speed improvements over its already jet propelled predecessor plus the ability to auto-translate webpages as well as providing greater control over privacy settings. It's available now.

Interestingly, Chrome was also the only browser to grow its market share last month jumping just under half a per cent to 5.61 per cent. IE dropped to 61.58 and Firefox and Safari to 24.23 and 4.45 per cent respectively. Given Google's widespread Chrome advertising campaign and the Internet Explorer browser ballot screen it'll be interesting to see if this will further boost Chrome over the coming months.


Official Google Blog Post


Chrome Blog Post


March 3, 2010, 4:28 pm

Picnik does not do anything you can't already do in Picassa or any of the other sites online with basic picture editing tools. It is not a serious attempt at picture editing on the web (no layers, no pen tools, no cloning stamp etc) but something for backpackers to fix red-eyed pics before posting them to their friends on Facebook. Journalists are supposed to filter out the hype .. not regurgitate press releases.


March 3, 2010, 6:44 pm

@mikfrak 1. You're completely wrong. 2. Learn some manners.

You're talking about Picasa the desktop utility, not Picasa Web Albums. There is little to no editing functionality in Picasa Web Albums and as Google tries to increasingly move things into the Cloud it needs to offer the greater ability of services like Picnik. The next step to layers, etc is something which the financial clout of Google should help facilitate.

Dear facts, please consider yourself straightened.


March 3, 2010, 6:55 pm

mikfrak - I'd disagree with you here. I use Picasa, Picnik and PS4 on a daily basis. Picnik for me is like netbooks to PC's. We have realised that we don't need to have unlimited options and power to create 90% of what we need.

There are many differences between Picasa and Picnik. Curves, Levels, Dodging, Burning, Touch up tools, an excellent text editor, many effects (of which many can be painted in). In options that they share, Picnik has the more advanced options such as in collages.

Being cloud based it can pull photos from anywhere and save back into those sites or others of your choice. Also, I can do my editing anywhere.

Picnik never stops expanding, they improve on a regular basis and add to it.

All wrapped up in an excellent, instinctive interface.

I've used Picnik for all of the following photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/3...

You may not, but I see programs like this as serious competition for established players such as adobe and over time we make say that photos been 'Picniked' not 'Photoshopped' lol. Google has made a smart move buying them.


March 3, 2010, 9:06 pm

I find Pixlr to be a close match to Photoshop, perhaps more to Photoshop Elements, but it's very flexible and feels like Photoshop (albeit it a cut down version), with the most common features.


March 3, 2010, 9:11 pm

While I don't think Picnik is quite powerful enough for my needs yet, this is certainly good news. Personally I'm not yet sold on Cloud computing (the provision of fixed-line and mobile internet services in the UK have a long, long, long way to go before it can really take over IMO). But if nothing else, as joose says it presents competition to Adobe, which is much needed. The choice Adobe offers - of either a horrifically expensive program for professionals (PS), or a stripped-down version that assumes you've just got your first camera (Elements) is far from ideal and does little to discourage piracy. Do they not realise there is a market between "beginner" and "professional"? Anyway, sorry for going a bit off-topic...

Daniel Gerson

March 3, 2010, 9:27 pm

I think that people need to realise that everyone uses the same tools for very different purposes. So when a new product comes along there will be two groups of people, one saying that it's a good substitute and another saying it won't work. THEY'RE BOTH RIGHT! but talking about different things.

For the group that push their Photoshop/equivalent to the max. Matte Painter, Some desktop publishers, artists etc, that buy N gigs of RAM just to get that last bit out of the product... that require 16bit/channel, huge amount of instant undo, lots of layers, no proxies, etc, it will be a while still before the cloud steps up to the plate.

For the other group, which probably represents the majority, I'd expect to see the cloud encroaching sooner rather than later.


March 3, 2010, 9:37 pm

my god, it's true... google really are out to take over the world...


March 4, 2010, 10:44 pm

Im surprised why it took so long for a big company to really get this going. In fact im still surprised google doesnt offer proper video editing on YouTube yet!

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