Google Snaps Up Picnik

Google acquires Picnik

Search leader Google has purchased photo-editing site Picnik, in a move that augments its existing image organization and editing offering, Picasa.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) did not disclose terms of the acquisition.

Since the No. 1 search engine acquired Picasa in 2004, it has already owned a Web site and software that enables users to tag, organize and perform basic editing on their photos.

Now, with the addition of Picnik, Google is hoping to amp up the photo-editing capabilities it can offer users.

“Picnik [is] one of the first sites to bring photo editing to the cloud,” Brian Axe, product management director at Google, wrote in a blog post. “Using Picnik, you can crop, do touch-ups and add cool effects to your photos, all without leaving your Web browser.

The service also supports importing photos from rival services like Yahoo-owned Flickr, and Facebook.

Axe also said that Google won’t be making any major changes to the Picnik service, “though we’ll be working hard on integration and new features.”

“We’re looking forward to collaborating closely with them to improve the online photo editing experience on the Web,” he added.

Picnik and Picasa are hardly alone in the online photos space. There’s photo-storage sites like News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) and Fox Interactive Media’s Photobucket, social networking services like Facebook and MySpace that offer their own photo-hosting, and larger players like Yahoo’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) Flickr.

And there are other looming rivals as well, like Adobe, which launched a free, online version of Photoshop last year., as it’s known, is less fully featured than Adobe’s (NASDAQ: ADBE) flagship professional graphics editing software, but it’s formed the centerpiece of a growing array of software-as-a-service offerings from Adobe, which has grown to include offerings like

For Google, meanwhile, Picnik’s buy comes on the heels of another recent acquisition also designed to help it expand beyond pure text-link search. In February, Google acquired Aardvark, a startup focusing on “social search” — that is, it routes questions to real people to answer.

Christopher Saunders is senior managing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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