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Adobe Launches Online Photoshop Beta

The well-known company's entrance into online photo editing and sharing is likely to be felt by competing services like Picnik, Phixr, and Splashup.

Online photo enthusiasts can now get their photo fix and fix their photos in one place.

Adobe on Thursday announced the commencement of public beta testing for its free online Adobe Photoshop Express photo editing service and community.

Some of the editing options included in Adobe Photoshop Express include: Crop & Rotate, Auto Correct, Exposure, Red-Eye Removal, Touchup, Saturation, White Balance, Highlight, Fill Light, Sharpen, Soft Focus, Hue, Black & White, Tint, Sketch, and Distort.

Adobe's entrance into this space is likely to be felt by other online photo editing services like Picnik, Phixr, and Splashup, to name a few.

Though Adobe faces at least half a dozen competing online photo editing services, it's likely to benefit from its strong brand name and from fortuitous timing: There's considerable worry at the moment among users of Yahoo's Flickr, one of the leading online photo sharing communities, about the service's future following its likely acquisition by Microsoft. (One Flickr competitor, SmugMug, is offering discounts to those "fleeing Flickr.")

Adobe Photoshop Express is not likely to be meaningful to its professional Photoshop CS3 customers. The service offers up to 2 Gbytes of online storage, and that's only one or two pictures for many serious photographers. Adobe Photoshop Express also limits uploads to 10 megabytes and 4000 pixels in height and width.

Professional photographers often use hundreds of gigabytes of storage and tend to rely on third-party Photoshop plug-ins that aren't available through Adobe Photoshop Express.

But Adobe is clearly aiming at photo hobbyists, at least at this point. In additional to its variety of image adjustment and filtering tools, Adobe Photoshop Express emphasizes photo sharing and online galleries. It includes links to social networking and photo sharing sites Facebook, Photobucket, and Picasa, though Adobe's ambition is clearly to bring more people to Adobe Photoshop Express.

Adobe Photoshop Express requires Windows XP or Vista, or Mac OS 10.4+; a minimum screen resolution of 1024x768; 512 Mbytes of RAM; Internet Explorer 6 or 7 (Windows), Safari 3.0.4+ (Mac), or Firefox 2+ (Mac or Windows); and Adobe's Flash 9.

At some point, Adobe Photoshop Express should be available as a desktop application, like Apple's iPhoto, once Adobe gets around to developing an offline client using its AIR technology.

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