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3/2/2010
05:32 PM
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Google Buys Picnik

The five-year-old online photo editing start-up says there will be no changes right away.

Google on Monday said that it had acquired Picnik, an online photo editing service that works with Internet applications from several Google competitors.

"More than ever before, people are sharing and storing their photos online," said Google product management director Brian Axe in a blog post. "But until recently, you had to edit your photos using client software on your computer."

The price that Google paid for Picnik was not disclosed.

While the Picnik acquisition doesn't represent an immediate threat to Adobe Photoshop, the desktop photo editing standard for professionals, it's yet another indication that online applications represent the future.

Adobe, of course, already operates Photoshop.com, a pared-down version of its desktop photo editing application.

Picnik allows users to crop, resize, rotate, and alter online images in real-time, to apply a variety of filters, effects, and fonts, and to use browser extensions to make it easier to upload and edit images. It overlaps to some extent with Google's Picasa service.

No immediate charges are expected as a result of the deal.

But the extent to which Picnik interoperates with services like Facebook and Yahoo Mail remains open to question under Google's management. Google may well want to maintain Picnik's interoperability with non-Google services, but it remains to be seen whether Facebook and Yahoo find that idea appealing.

According to Axe, Google is working on integrating Picnik and on new features for the service.

It's also unclear how Google will deal with Picnik's premium features, which are available for $25 per year. Google has tended to offer consumer-oriented services for free.

During its earnings call for investors last October, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that the company was again looking for new acquisitions and that Google in the past had acquired about one company every month.

Picnik is Google's ninth acquisition in the past eight months.

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