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Google acquires Nik Software with focus on mobile users

By dpreview staff on Sep 18, 2012 at 17:18 GMT

Google announced that it has acquired Nik Software, the San Diego-based maker of standalone and plug-in image editing tools. While Nik has a wide portfolio of products for photographers, industry insiders agree that the impetus behind the move was to acquire Snapseed, Nik's mobile image editing and sharing app. In light of Facebook's earlier acquisition of the highly popular Instagram app, the move to acquire one of its rivals is clearly seen as part of an effort to make Google+ more attractive to mobile photographers.

While the $4.99 Snapseed app has a smaller number of users than Instagram, which is free, Nik's app does have a devoted following and won Apple's iPad App of the Year award in 2011. Google does not lack for opportunities to integrate Snapsneed into its collection of photographic and social media services which include  Picassa and Google+. While Snapseed is currently available only for iOS, the purchase by Google is likely to provide added incentive to introduce a long-awaited Android version.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering, in charge of Google+, has commented on the deal via a post on his Google+ page and has stressed the company's committment to Nik's plugins and high-end software.


Nik Software public statement:

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

All our best!

The Nik Software Team

Comments

Total comments: 66
marmotguy
By marmotguy (Nov 2, 2012)

I received the email from NIK today that they had been acquired by Google. This is depressing. I have three of their plug-ins and was considering the entire suite in the next update. NIK is by far my favorite photo editing software and has increased my productivity greatly. Now I cannot envision any future for the product other than phone and tablet software. What interest would Google have in continuing developing desktop photo editing software?

I guess this is the long goodbye.

2 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Jan 6, 2013)

I understand and agree completely with you. I use NIK predominantly in my workflow and am concerned the development is going to switch more into mobile application base. I use NIK with my Mac, not on a ipad, iphone nor droid.

0 upvotes
Charles Pike
By Charles Pike (Oct 1, 2012)

I own each of their products and use them daily. Today I wanted to look at the online training videos that they offer, and have not been able to watch them. At first I thought that it might be my computer, but I have been watching a few tutorials on Youtube, and they work. Maybe everyone over there at Nik are busy else where today. Nik software plus Light Room make my photography so much better.

0 upvotes
Zavodenka
By Zavodenka (Sep 27, 2012)

Is the price gonna to drop??

0 upvotes
photopoet55
By photopoet55 (Sep 23, 2012)

Well the best thing to me was silver efex Pro2.I hope they don't scew it up.Number one Plug-in.

1 upvote
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Jan 6, 2013)

+1

0 upvotes
El Crapio
By El Crapio (Sep 21, 2012)

Maybe people had better hone their PS skills so they won't depend on external filters. And that goes for me too.

0 upvotes
Slynky
By Slynky (Sep 20, 2012)

Oh well. So much for that software bundle...

1 upvote
ZZFILM
By ZZFILM (Sep 20, 2012)

I hope they take all of their photo apps to the cloud and help create a very useable web based "photoshop" for the masses.

0 upvotes
3stones
By 3stones (Sep 19, 2012)

Too bad, maybe good for the owner of Nik.

2 upvotes
epo001
By epo001 (Sep 19, 2012)

This is part of the ongoing Android/IOS battle. Some parts will appear in a future release of Android, the rest will metaphorically gather dust in some forgotten disc drive in the bowels of Google's galactic HQ. Snapspeed will pulled from the app store in 1, 2, 3 ...

1 upvote
montxsuz
By montxsuz (Sep 19, 2012)

Oh dear! :-( Remember iView?

2 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Sep 19, 2012)

A friend who is a professor of Business Admin figures Google will use Snapseed to the max and sell off the other Nik business. If so, let's hope that someone buys the other aspects of Nik and continues to develop them.

2 upvotes
Marcin 3M
By Marcin 3M (Sep 19, 2012)

Bit late, but my conclusion is:

ONLY FREE, OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE is relaible, and worth to work with.
With other kind of software, one can never be sure, when it become too expensive or simply vanish...
As to the NIK - i felt the same when Kodak finished their BW papers and IR BW film...

0 upvotes
mimot13
By mimot13 (Sep 19, 2012)

Bad story.. I've never seen a "happy end" in a purchase of a little (even and particularly a good company, there are a lot of such examples !) by a big one : leaders, thinking heads leave the boat and the whole story ends with disappointed users. Google was never interested in Pro imaging products and live in another business area, will this change now ? I bet it will not. And yes the short and sad comment on Nik site shows the future of the company ?
Nikon too, with their NX2 have now a real problem.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Sep 19, 2012)

...I've never seen a "happy end" in a purchase of a little (even and particularly a good company, there are a lot of such examples !) by a big one .... SO TRUE!

1 upvote
gsum
By gsum (Sep 19, 2012)

Look at what happened to Raw Converter, a free and very good application that was bought by Adobe and incorporated into the stupidly expensive Photo$hop. However, Google will give free access to the NIK filters.
The future of the excellent NX2 is more of a worry but I suppose that we can carry on using the old version.

0 upvotes
WordsOfFarewell
By WordsOfFarewell (Sep 19, 2012)

This can't be good. I see the next generation of their programs being dumped down for amateurs with a lack of options and versatility. Nothing good can come out of this.

5 upvotes
perspic
By perspic (Sep 19, 2012)

Nik should have just sold that mobile product to Google. I don't think Google will have any long-lasting love for Nik's great products like SilverFX Pro or ColorFX. I wonder what will be the future for these Nik Products.

3 upvotes
robert malek
By robert malek (Sep 19, 2012)

and since when do the corporate brass care about the employees when they leave ? this is fantasy. What is key here is this is not a business partnership deal. This is a buyout. Phil Laskey had said he was going to stay. I don't hear any as such from Nik. Apparently though, nik corporate officers dont want to bother with this anymore and such an attitude would have been bad for the company's future. hopefully google and their money will do something good. there is a chance.

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Sep 19, 2012)

Whoever owns Nik and stock in Nik made a ton of money. That's all this is about. Nobody cares about anything else.

0 upvotes
Kananga
By Kananga (Sep 19, 2012)

Surely if photographers keep purchasing Nik's professional products then the Nik arm of Google will continue to be profitable and of benefit to Google. Of course we could also see a Google alternative to Aperture or Lightroom down the road that would be built around Nik's digital darkroom products and not just a focus on the apps side of the business...
It's still too early to write it all off. I am sure there must be some sort of roadmap for the professional products or the decision makers at Nik would have written a death sentence for all the employees that built the company.

1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

Not a death sentence, simply a payoff that may eventually free them to go do something else.

You remember Phil, the guy who started this site, then sold it to Amazon, then went off to do something different. Most people simply wished him good luck for the future and were happy he'd got paid.

Nothing wrong with building a business and then selling it to reap the benefits of your work.

Customers can be a by-product. It may be the customers, but it may instead be the assets, including many years of code and IP that makes the company a target. Microsoft used to buy competitors to its application simply to kill them off and reduce choice, and as a side benefit got access to the inner workings of a successful product from which to cherry pick.

The lack of official comment on the acquisition simply means we don't know what sort of acquisition it is. But I doubt the fact the buyer is Google fills photographers with hope for a bright future in leading edge (or even competent) photo editing.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
robert malek
By robert malek (Sep 19, 2012)

IF YOU READ WHAT NIK SAYS ABOVE, THEY LIE. THEY SAY THEY ARE PART OF GOOGLE. THEY ARE NOT. THERE IS NO PARTNERSHIP HERE. THEY ARE NOW GOOGLE WITH A DBA ( DOING BUSINESS AS ).

0 upvotes
robert malek
By robert malek (Sep 19, 2012)

Nik shouldn't have stayed away from the mobile market. Google didn't force anyone to do anything. If anything, nik intentionally did what they did so they would receive offers for company purchase.
Google isn't selfish. Nik is. Once again, goggle didnt force anyone to do anything.
Basically, in my opinion, nik just gave a big fat F to all their customers who gave them the sales and success they had. I'm glad Nik has shown their true colors.
Now, if nik would have teamed up with google such as hasselblad did with sony, it would be a much better situation. Sharing, collaborating, cooperative alliances are much better scenarios. If a lesser company, such as b and h photo would have bought nik then this would be a second choice scenario because at least b and h focuses on photography and video so WE would be okay.
Finally, the worst scenario is when an outside company of a different field comes in and buys a company. this situation is virtually always bad. SHAME ON NIK !!!

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Sep 19, 2012)

Nik should have stayed away from the mobile market and stuck to serious stuff rather than kids toys.

I hope that the Aperture plugins will continue to be supported and developed, as I use them in preference to PS.

2 upvotes
spidercrown
By spidercrown (Sep 19, 2012)

Selfish google naf said! Take away a nice app for serious photog!

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Sep 19, 2012)

What a dumb remark. Nobody forces NIK to sell of their business.

0 upvotes
NorCalAl
By NorCalAl (Sep 19, 2012)

I bought Viveza 2 a week ago. Should have known it was the end...

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Sep 18, 2012)

It would be an odd twist if Capture NX2 survives because Nikon has it and won't have anything to replace it with.

0 upvotes
Mike Walters
By Mike Walters (Sep 18, 2012)

Hmmmmm, Nik's motto is (was) "photography first" then they sell out to google who will focus on mobile apps...that sounds to me like a contradiction.
I was of the belief that anyone serious about photography used a camera, not a phone to take pictures.

This whole mobile app, share everything with everyone and have 20,000 'friends' culture leaves me cold.

I guess I must be a luddite.......

20 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

Not a luddite, just old ;-)

Seven people clicked your like button, on a post about not getting social networks, LOL.

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

And now thirteen. Statistically some must be American, so we can finally put paid to e myth about Americans and irony.

0 upvotes
foto guy
By foto guy (Sep 18, 2012)

Maybe I WON'T invest in more Nik software, after all...

1 upvote
Curt Geiger
By Curt Geiger (Sep 18, 2012)

It will be interesting to see what happens. I love SFX Pro 2 but as a Lightroom User who needs quick conversions I've been using the excellent Skyline B+W Film presets. They are great when I don't have time to use SFX Pro 2, and great value for money at only £7.99. Richard Curtis at Adobe recently did a good feature on them. http://adobe.ly/Ul0HRz

1 upvote
DStudio
By DStudio (Sep 18, 2012)

Unfortunately I don't think it will be interesting - it will be sad and pathetic watching what NIK once was quickly melt away into a few features for a couple of Google products.

2 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Sep 18, 2012)

Sorry, meant Google will not support them. They may hang around for a while before they are killed off, but make no mistake, those products just died.

1 upvote
osu9400
By osu9400 (Sep 18, 2012)

The backlash has been brutal. As a Nik's customer, I am not happy either. The comments on Nik's news page have been ugly.

2 upvotes
mwhyte
By mwhyte (Sep 18, 2012)

Would you be so kind as to supply a link to Nik news site you mentioned with all the comments....I could not find it....

Anyways....I will add my comment...which is..I am just concerned that Google (which I think is a good company) will get in there...take the technology that needs and let all these other great photographic tools that Nik makes whither away...I truly hope that Google remembers what made Nik great...and that is great tools for serious photographers...not great tools for the Social Media crowd....

Anyways I will hope that they keep the serious tools updated...I can always hope...

0 upvotes
mwhyte
By mwhyte (Sep 18, 2012)

I found the link...

http://education.niksoftware.com/2012/09/17/google-acquires-nik-software/#comments

0 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Sep 19, 2012)

I think it is the complete lack of information from Nik or Google that many find disturbing. Even when they acquired Sparrow, they laid out a clear path (just not a good one). I just wish they could have bought the Snapseed program and left the real plugins alone. Photo projects just become neglected zombies in Google land. Picasa, Picasaweb, Panoramio, Picnik (ok they killed that zombie off).

I guess I'm in the market for LR4 presets. I just found U-point much easier than adjustment brushes. And part of me thinks that the U-Point tech was what Google was really after. That's EXTREMELY useful on a touch based device.

0 upvotes
Ann Chaikin
By Ann Chaikin (Sep 18, 2012)

Dang! I don't like the sound of this. I love my Nik plug-ins and wonder whether Google will keep any interest in those.

0 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Sep 18, 2012)

I would bet against Nik supporting the pro products, it's jut not what they do. They bought them for the mobile technology, that's it. Expect all the Nik plugins to reach EOL status soon.

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 18, 2012)

I have Snapseed for Adroid and I like it, let's hope they improve on this and leave the Nik plug in software alone, does this include Nikon capture NX?

0 upvotes
Doug Pardee
By Doug Pardee (Sep 18, 2012)

Nik hasn't released Snapseed for Android. Is it a beta version you have?

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 18, 2012)

Desktop Snapseed

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Sep 18, 2012)

I wouldn't mind a re-done Picasa with some cool Nik adjustment features.

0 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Sep 18, 2012)

one day, google apple and microsoft will merge. The renamed organization will be called "Umbrella". Since Bill Gates has a lot of exposure in bio stuffs, the management would decide that Bio tech is the way to go.
5 years later, we have our first zombie apocalypse.

7 upvotes
osu9400
By osu9400 (Sep 18, 2012)

to be nit picky (since I'm a huge geek) Bill Gates is not in the tech biz any more.

0 upvotes
nycfirefighter
By nycfirefighter (Sep 19, 2012)

If Milla Jovovich comes with the zombie apocalypse I might not mind as much.

1 upvote
KevinFultonPhotography
By KevinFultonPhotography (Sep 18, 2012)

Why do people keep reporting that Snapseed is a competitor to Instagram? Snapseed is a standalone photo editor like iPhoto or Filterstorm, and not a social network that happens to have photo filters.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
osu9400
By osu9400 (Sep 18, 2012)

Google could easily create a snapseed social component to G+ in the model of instagram. Facebook owns instagram so Google thinks they need something similar. G+ is withering on the vine, they need something to give it a shot in the arm.

1 upvote
Doug Pardee
By Doug Pardee (Sep 18, 2012)

Also, Instagram is basically a mobile-phone app, while Snapseed only runs on desktops and tablets. That could change in the future, but for the moment, Instagram and Snapseed have little in common.

Presuming that it does happen some months down the road, is anyone going to care about Snapseed as a mobile-phone app? Instagram is already there and well-established, both on iPhone and on Android. What could Google Snapseed offer that would outshine Instagram?

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 19, 2012)

Snapseed WAS a stand alone photo editor. But the acquisition by Google could change that, making it a component of a cloud based service and forcing you to use their cloud if you want to use it.

Snapseed allows you to create similar grungy photos on your mobile device for sharing with social networks, so there is some crossover even though the two have a different emphasis.

I really enjoyed using Snapseed but if google thinks it can bribe me into joining + it's made yet another bad call. There are better Apps than Snapseed and I already have them. They'll continue to be updated and improve, while Snapseed won't. Eventually it will break when a new iOS comes out and that will be the end.

Google have made some very questionable ethical choice and have a history of playing loose with privacy. It's going to take a big turn around for me to trust them and I see no signs yet (not that I'm looking).

I love the NIK plugins and the lack of comment on their future is the most concern for me.

1 upvote
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 18, 2012)

Nik software also has some excellent adobe plugins. Hopefully these will not suffer.

http://www.niksoftware.com/completecollection/usa/entry.php

3 upvotes
KevinFultonPhotography
By KevinFultonPhotography (Sep 18, 2012)

I'm torn. Should I purchase the Complete Collection now for $299.99 or should I wait and see if there are price cuts because of this?

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 18, 2012)

You want my advice? That'll be $10 :p

0 upvotes
Sergiusbr
By Sergiusbr (Sep 18, 2012)

Beaware of apps! They know more about your life(style) than you! Google interest is in collecting info about users for taking economical advantages. Prize your privacy and attention when installing APPs!

4 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Sep 18, 2012)

Got some of those plugins for PS in the past -- found all of them useless. Google has no need in them either, so they will likely be dropped.

1 upvote
LaFonte
By LaFonte (Sep 18, 2012)

You will probably get them free in few months.

0 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (Sep 18, 2012)

Under Google the software is free because the product is you.

2 upvotes
dengx
By dengx (Sep 18, 2012)

Somehow I don't think it is a good news.

12 upvotes
Vasyl Tsvirkunov
By Vasyl Tsvirkunov (Sep 18, 2012)

I am with you on that. It would be very very sad if Color Efex and Viveza become watered down plugins in Picasa and the way how things go with these purchases it will happen.
Why did Google by Nik? Topaz made more sense - they even have "I am feeling lucky" button.

2 upvotes
Greg in London
By Greg in London (Sep 18, 2012)

I agree not good new for professionals !

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
J GGG
By J GGG (Sep 18, 2012)

I'm found of my Nik filter collection, but I doubt I'll may go on using them for a long time. All this smells like a "search and destroy" mission. I'll start looking elsewhere.
Sorry NIK folks: you were the very best and you sold your souls to the devil...!

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Vasyl Tsvirkunov
By Vasyl Tsvirkunov (Sep 18, 2012)

One saving grace - the quality and depth of current versions are so high that it will take years before they become obsolete. Most likely the worst problem will be Photoshop compatibility. Well, I already have three different versions of Photoshop installed at the same time because of that.
There will be something equal or better in years -- maybe Topaz will turn from surreal effects towards more realistic and subtle ones, maybe onOne fills some gaps, maybe even something completely new.

1 upvote
Total comments: 66