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March 1, 2010

Google Buys Picnik

It's difficult to understand why Google didn't develop an online photo editor: it would've integrated with Picasa Web Albums, Google Docs and other Google services. Right now, Picasa Web Albums is just an online extension of Picasa, a popular software that lets you manage your photos. Unlike Picasa Web Albums, most Google services work online and don't require additional applications.

Instead of migrating Picasa online, Google acquired Picnik, an online photo editor that already integrates with Picasa Web Albums and many other photo services.

"Today, we're excited to announce that Google has acquired Picnik, one of the first sites to bring photo editing to the cloud. Using Picnik, you can crop, do touch-ups and add cool effects to your photos, all without leaving your web browser," mentions Google's blog.

Picnik will not be discontinued and Google promises that the service will continue to support all the existing partners, but I suspect that Flickr will no longer use it as the default photo editor.

"When Bitnik, Inc was created, our founders envisioned making great software for real people and giving users the power to edit digital photos in their browser, without having to purchase or download complicated software. While our first office in 2005 only had two desks, today we've grown to 20 employees and have become the world's most fun online photo editor, with millions of visitors every month," says Virginia from Picnik.

Google will have to rethink its strategy and no longer build online extensions for software, even if they own a popular application like Picasa. Google Photos should be a standalone service that doesn't require Picasa to upload more than 5 photos, to download photo albums or to quickly retouch a photo.


  1. "Google will have to rethink its strategy and no longer build online extensions for software, even if they own a popular application like Picasa."

    I couldn't disagree with this statement more than I do. I have tens of thousands of images on my computer and without Picasa I would be using something other than Picasa Web Albums and I would not have paid for additional storage.

    I can live with my mail being in Gmail, some of my docs in Google Docs and my calendar in Google Calendar. My music and my pictures belong on my computer first and online second. No Picasa, no money from me. While it makes perfect sense for Google to NOT offer desktop email clients or office suites there are times when a desktop app is required. Picasa is required.

  2. Picasa Web Albums is the only Google service that requires an application for basic features: uploading photos, downloading photo albums, editing photos etc. Google Docs doesn't need an application to upload more than 5 documents, to export all your documents or to edit a document.

  3. Right you are, but I have never wanted to upload 700 documents to Google Docs at one time. Many, many times (more than 100) I have upload that many images to Picasa Web Albums. Once again, without Picasa on the Mac I would not use Web Albums. There are times when a desktop app is required. The two go hand in hand in this case. Without Picasa, Web Albums would be just another Orkut.

  4. I wonder if this means that Picnik's premium service level will become free...? I have LOVED Picnik, and this thrills the heck out of me that it's being bought by Google. I just hope they don't let it fall by the way-side.

  5. This purchase is clearly a sign that although Picasa is an application that currently needs to be native to a computer, that will not be the case sometime down the road. Unfortunately that is going to affect users that like to have something installed on their machine, but I don't see how this fits into their strategy if it's not in the cloud.

    With that being said, there still is Google Earth too, but that basically is a much more complex version of Google Maps...

  6. Its strange..Its buying PicNik for its popularity ...Its still flash. And google is moving to HTML5 (NoFlash). There were good early startup for similar stuff. (Though retouch was very basic). Hope Picnik soon moves to NoFlash version. Its slow, And crashes because of flash sometimes.

  7. go go thumbsup

  8. Pixlr is a much better photo editor

  9. I upload directly from Lightroom to Picasa Web Albums using a plugin.

  10. OOOO thats so nice of google that they bought picnik..i know we will see more improved changes very soon..


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