Google Buys Picnik, Photo Editing Enters the Cloud

2 minute read
Chelsi Nakano avatar

On Monday Google shelled out more cash for the acquisition of Picnik, a photo-editing website that allows users to edit right inside their browser, rather than purchase or download the necessary software. Are we surprised? Not exactly. Do we think it’s going to contribute to Google’s goal to rule everything Web? Absolutely.  

The Editing Lab

Word is that Picnik, which offers both a free and premium paid version, serves somewhere around 2 million unique users a month. It’s a nice feature if you’re looking to make basic edits to photos (cropping, red eye correction, photo coloring effects, retouching) instead of going all out and downloading something like Photoshop.

Google has a desktop feature for their photo storage and sharing site called Picasa, but it comes with the added bonus of being able to print and e-mail photos, as well as purchase personalized photo cards or prints from providers like Snapfish and Kodak. Moreover, you can use Picasa to uopload photos from your hard drive and create slideshow movies (complete with soundtrack!).

Now imagine a mixture of Picnik and Picasa: With the new ownage, will Picnik be rebranded as Picasa? Will Picasa desktop features be integrated into Picnik? Or perhaps Picnik’s nifty features will come baked into Google offerings such as Google Docs. The details are still hush hush, but in any event, it looks like some cool stuff is to come of this purchase.

Learning Opportunities

Why Buy?

Brian Axe, a Google product manager, explained the reason behind the purchase on Google’s blog:

More than ever before, people are sharing and storing their photos online. But until recently, you had to edit your photos using client software on your computer. Today, we’re excited to announce that Google has acquired Picnik, one of the first sites to bring photo editing to the cloud.

Some say this sale positions Google as competition for companies like Adobe--which has their own online photo editing service at photoshop.com--or Apple and their photo editing tools within iPhoto. And, okay, yeah, they're probably right. Google's goal to cram everything in the G-verse is a well known fact, and with all the purchases they've made in the recent past, 2010 looks like it's going to be a pretty explosive year for that.