Google has now announced a monumental revelation about Nik, its photo editing software: It’s now free!
Digital photography buffs rejoice! There’s news from the world of photo editing software that has amateurs and pros alike celebrating.
To understand the cause for excitement, let’s back up. Google acquired what it dubbed the Nik Collection about four years ago in an effort to get one popular mobile app, Snapseed. This app basically let you apply Instagram-style filters to all of your photographs without having to do it in the upload process. This was a great tool for Google’s mobile tech.
But with the Snapseed deal, Google manage to nab several other desktop applications that it then bundled into a photo editing suite called Nik Collection. This suite, while still cheaper than full-fledged versions of Photoshop and other industry standard tools, came with a $149 price tag. That’s a bargain if you do this professionally, but kind of out of reach for someone who just wants to make their personal photos look their best.
According to a post from Google, “The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.”
But Google has now announced a monumental revelation about Nik: not only is it now available for free, but if you purchased the full-price version this year, you’re eligible for an automatic refund. That may not be good news for users who jumped on board early after Google’s acquisition, but it’s still taking the concept of open-source a step farther than most companies would go.
Of course, there are some immediate concerns about the value of this download. Some users have already questioned whether this means there will be no further support or updates for the software, as well as voiced concerns about compatibility with future OS updates and upgrades.
Why is Google giving away something that is already well-respected in its field? Their announcement offers a little bit of insight into their focus shift for the Nik side of business.
“As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.”