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Google acquires web-based photo editor Picnik

Google builds a lot of fantastic web-based tools in-house, but it's been known to buy up some really nice existing services instead of reinventing the wheel. Picnik, a popular web-based photo editor, is Google's latest grab. It makes a lot of sense, because Picnik does a great job of cropping and touching up photos, and it comes with a lot of fun effects. If Google plans to reinvent photo-editing in the cloud, it may as well start there.

What Google's official blog post about the Picnik acquisition doesn't mention is that Picnik has a partnership with photo-sharing service Flickr that dates back to 2007. Flickr, of course, was purchased by Yahoo!, and competes with Google's photo service, Picasa. I suspect this is more than an attempt to score a body blow on Yahoo! - even though, frankly, Flickr is better and more popular than Picasa - because Google's post encourages readers to try importing to Picnik from Picasa Web Albums, Flickr or Facebook. In other words, Flickr's "edit in Picnik" option seems safe for now.

What about Picnik itself? You don't need a Google Account to use it, and Google says it won't make any immediate changes to the service, but "integration and new features" are coming. I can't help but wonder whether some of those features will be Picasa-exclusive.

Tags: acquisition, editing, google, photos, picasa, picnik