Not long ago Google bought Nik Software. Mixed impressions on the topic. “They will kill it (like they did with my beloved Google Reader and iGoogle)”, “They will make it better!”.
Snapseed is a simple (and powerful) editing tool from Nik, focusing on mobile editing, but with a desktop version. Before being bought, Nik made Snapseed free for mobile, while kept charging for the desktop version.
Google bought and killed Snapseed for desktop, first thing in the morning, and made people freak out even more!
On the other hand, they repacked all the applications from Nik Software (i.e. the amazing Color Effects Pro 4, Silver Effects Pro 2 and others) into the Nik Suite and lower the price to 149,- US$ (variations around the world). Then everybody went bunkers (good bunkers now). BUT! But there has been no developments in this direction.
OK … what were they doing, did they buy Nik just to bundle all the apps and lower the price (kind of OCD behaviour “we hate scattered software!” hehehehehe). Nop! Of course not. Recently Google restructured their whole deal with images and disk space. Now Google store your images, up to 2048 pixels in the longest edge with no cost on space, has the cloud backup for your mobile devices and so on. Together with that, they introduced the “Auto-enhance” and “Auto-awesome” for your pictures on Google+, that became their front-end for dealing with images.
“Auto-enhance” and “Auto-awesome” apply Nik’s technology to enhance your pictures and create new images from the ones you posted. It can get a sequence of images and stick it into an animated GIF (who would tell, after so many years animated GIFs would be cool again!), or try to HDR your shots and there it goes. You don’t have control. Is what was chosen for the image, in the intensity it was chosen, or nothing. I personally prefer to tweak the images myself, but most of the people don’t have the means, will and time for it.
Back to Snapseed. Snapseed is awesome on an iPad! I take a shot, tweak it and post it! iPads have 10-inch screens! I would not edit my dSLR shots in it (though Adobe is working on a mobile version of Lightroom and I’m not saying I won’t give it a try), but casual snapshots can be improved a lot with Snapseed. If you have it on a phone (~4 to 4.5-inch screens) editing becomes hard, quite a pain!! Let’s be honest! You can’t see much in such small screen!!! (bright side, other people also can’t hehehehe).
Google has launched this week Snapseed inside of Google+ on the browser. OK, image must be in Google+, you must be using Chrome, but it’s there, like in the mobile device. You can edit your shots, make them better THE WAY YOU WANT, not automatic. Is really great! I gave it a try with a casual shot I posted a couple of months ago and I liked the result!!! You can compare, the edited shot below, with the non-edited shot in the beginning of the post (now you understand what Bon Jovi has to do with Snapseed on the web! 🙂 ).
Totally worth it, even if you don’t like Chrome!
Additional note, Adobe has announced a deal for photographers, during Photoshop World in Las Vegas. 9.99 US$ for monthly subscription to Photoshop CC and Lightroom. No initial price, permanent price! You need a valid license of Photoshop CS3 or newer and to enrol before the end of the year (if you quit you’re out of the deal).
1- What if I don’t have a valid Photoshop license? I’m brand new to photography!! Just bought my dSLR! What’s the price for new people?
2- What’s the price for the rest of the world? Europe, for instance?
I’ll keep you posted when (and if) I get the answer!
[EDITED]: For the second question, apparently the price in Europe will be 9.99 Euros, and it goes around there elsewhere, but variations due to taxes can show (from Adobe’s blog). On the what if I don’t have a license, no answer is found so far, what looks like “YOU DON’T”!.
[EDITED 2]: Some answers: Price for the Adobe deal in Germany will be 12.29 Euros (i.e. around 65% more expensive than the US). For the “I’m new to photography”, the answer is “Get a Photoshop CC subscription and Lightroom, or the Creative Suite CC subscription”. On a side note I found out that is a PHOTOSHOP license that is needed, if you have a Creative Suite license you’re not eligible also, but Adobe should work on that.