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