Photo Websites

Google Snaps Photo Editing Web Site

March has seen Google quietly move forward in its quest to control the world (or at least the Internet) as it acquired the image editing Web site Picnik. This is actually not too surprising considering Google's dedication to productive Web applications.

Picnik allows users to modify photos and other images online without requiring the installation of software like Photoshop. There is a free and a premium version of Picnik, giving those who use the service more often and require more features to have more tools available with the purchase of a monthly subscription fee. Google is already in the image business with its Picasa photo sharing Web site and desktop application. People use this mostly to store and transmit photographs and create personalized slide shows. Picasa users can connect to third party services to purchase prints, post cards, and other services. With Picnik under its umbrella, it's easy to see that Google's image processing capabilities will be greatly enhanced.

Not much in the way of details about Google's deal for Picnik are known yet. Some analysts expected that Yahoo! Would be after Picnik since the service is already integrated into its Yahoo! Mail service. Seeing that Picnik is easily integrated into mail services, it's reasonable to expect the new acquisition to find its way into Gmail, although it's unclear what form that service will take.

Although a combination of Picasa and Picnik would seem like a likely outcome of Google's recent move, no one is clear as to what to expect. Furthermore, some are hoping that the premium features of Picnik will be offered by Google for free in its effort to build on its free Web hosting initiative. It's also unclear whether or not the integration with other Web services such as Facebook and Yahoo! Mail will continue or if Google will remove them in order to keep users focused on its services.

Other questions that remain unanswered include rumors of Picnik becoming accessible to mobile platforms such as Windows Phone 7 Series devices, Android, and iPhone. Also, there is uncertainty surrounding whether users of Picnik will see their Picnik storage count against their Google storage allocation. One thing is sure: as Google continues to build on its cloud-based application strategy.