Back in 2008 this blog identified Picnik as one of the best online image editing sites in the business. Two years later in 2010 we were no less enthusiastic about Picnik after Google bought the software and added it to Picasa. And ye Editor is not alone as other recent reviews put Picnik well above such competition as Splash up and even Photoshop Express – see here and then here. And Picnik puts the $1 billion dollar Instagram to shame. So why get rid of a very good thing?
Here is the official announcement on the Picnik site:
And here is Google’s official explanation:
Since joining Google in 2010, the Picnik team has been working on Picnik while helping to create photo editing magic in Google’s products. But now we get to focus. Picnik will be closing its doors on April 19, 2012. Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions to help you through the shutdown process. If your question isn’t answered, visit the Forum to get more help.
But there are other possibilities. Google is locked in a mortal battle with Facebook for Social Media Eyeballs and Time. Hey the Campbellford Library now has displaced Google with Facebook as its home page for all browser usage. Since Google+ was launched last summer Mark Zuckerberg not only joined Google+ but has stolen some nifty Google+ ideas – like Circles => Groups, albums and photos now display with more Google+ aplomb and the Timeline and Cover Profile page have stimulated answer backs from Google+ recently.
Picnik is now CreativeKit in Google+:
But the $64000 question is for how long? One indicator that Creative Kit may survive past April 19th is the fact that a careful check shows no sign of the Flash code that propelled Picnik in the past. This would mean that Google+ with Creative Kit/Picnik could run on Apple iOS devices as well as Android. But I have been duped before by clever hiding of Flash code.
Also Picasa on the desktop now supports a whole series of effects and filters that look like carbon copies of their Picnik counterparts – but hey, this is just Google porting and deploying its assets prudently. The amazing thing is that Goggle did not have the presence of mind to create Picnik-for-Mobiles. Heck, if that venture failed Google could still sell it to Facebook for a cool $1billion.
In contrast the two programs recommended as replacements for Picnik, Aviary and PicMonkey, are still Flash dependent. Here is Aviary:
Ooops and look where Aviary is being used. Apparently there is a version for Android as well.
Meanwhile PicMonkey is being developed by some ex-Picnikers. Here is what it looks like:
The niftiness of Picnik has been well preserved and cleverly extended at PicMonkey. The load time is still a bit long averaging 15-20 seconds but on a 100kb connection to the Web. But so does Creative Kit [alias Picnik] in Google+ . So the big surprise is given a strong set of substitute online Photo editors, some of which are not Flash dependent – why is Picnik being taken off the air? It is the class online Photo Editor. Are users going to migrate to Picasa and Google+ to get its Photo Editing capabilities. Whisper hint – not likely.
I am not sure I have come up with an adequate explanation for why Google is closing Picnik[but imagine what a task Mark Z. will have with his new shareholders on explaining $1B Instagram - an inferior online mobile photo editor]. It may be the rush to supremacy in the new Client Computing tripped off by Steve Jobs when he made Microsoft and Windows also-rans in sales and profits by a factor of 2 or more times. The blood lust was evident back in the late 1980s and early 1990s for PC supremacy. Now that battle for consumer loyalty is joined again across game/media players, cameras, smartphones, tablets and what remains of PCs. So one should expect a few Goofles along the way.