Google stated Sept. 17 that it had acquired Nik Software, a company that produces photo editing and sharing tools. This is the latest defensive move by Google against social network giant Facebook. It also is part of Google’s strategy to become a hub for sharing photos.
Facebook has recently increased its huge dominance in photo sharing with the acquisition of Instagram.
Nik Software is based in San Diego and is not really in the bubble of Silicon Valley, but it definitely has a strong following with serious photographers. Neither company has disclosed how much the deal was for. But we can bet that it was for a lot of cash because Nik Software is 17 years old and has 100 employees.
The most well-known product from Nik is Snapseed – a mobile app that is used for sharing and editing photos. It was named the iPad application of the year in 2011. The photo editing tools onboard Snapseed are more impressive than Instagram, but it is not as popular. Snapseed currently is available only for Apple products. Soon it will be available for Android as well. Many of the other products that are made by Nik Software are targeted at serious photographers.
Google+ has a long way to go to beat Facebook in photo sharing: Facebook states that users upload 300 million photos each day. However, Google+ does offer users some nice tools for playing with photos. For sharing, the Google+ mobile app will upload a cell phone picture into a private folder on Google+. This way, they are backed up and can be shared very easily. Users also have the ability to upload and download the highest resolution images.
Google seems to be trying to separate itself from Google by offering more advanced photo sharing options. Google also owns Picasa and Picnik, which is an online photo editor. Both have been built into Google+. The advanced tools there include adjustment of light, pixel size and sharpening/softening colors.