Google Snaps Up Snapseed, Now Ready to Battle Facebook’s Instagram

Nik Software announced today that it has been acquired by Google. The company is the maker of Snapseed, one of the most popular photo editing apps in the iTunes App Store and a competitor to Instagram.

Here’s what Nik Software said in the blog post published today:

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.

It’s unclear whether Google plans to use the acquisition to expand into the mobile photo sharing space, or whether it’s simply intended to beef up its existing Google+ and Picasa photo sharing products.

If it does try to compete against the likes of Instagram, whether by developing the app or by integrating its features into Google+, it has a solid audience to expose the software to: this week Google+ just passed 400 million registered members and 100 million monthly active users. By comparison, Instagram just passed 100 million total users a week ago (though Facebook’s 955M audience isn’t too shabby either).

Despite being a paid app with a price of $5, Snapseed has succeeded in finding a solid user base. In 2011, Apple selected it as its iPad App of the Year, and since then the app has grown to over 9 million users.

Facebook purchased Instagram when it was a 17-month-old company with around 30 million users. The purchase price of Nik Software, which is around 17-years-old, hasn’t been disclosed, but we’re guessing it’s somewhere south of $1 billion.

(via Reuters)

Update: As many commenters have kindly pointed out below, Nik Software is also the company behind a number of popular photo-editing programs. The question remains, though: would Google have considered Nik for purchase if Snapseed didn’t become so popular?

Thanks for the tip, Ian!

  • Nathan Blaney

    Hopefully, they’ll know enough not to fix what isn’t broken. Snapseed is great as-is!

  • bradleyeasom

    I’m hoping Snapseed will FINALLY make it to Android. I’ve been waiting so long! This is good for everyone. The competition will make all companies step it up and provide even better overall products.

  • Charles

    Snapseed? Who the f*** cares about Snapseed? It’s good software, I use it. What every serious photographer wants to know is what is going to happen to their $300-$600 dollar suite of plugins?!? Not even a mention of those?

  • Ian Ludwig

    Indeed! I was patiently waiting for Silver Efex Pro 3 and I am pretty sure this is not going to happen anymore. I like Snapseed, but was very disappointed to see this today.

  • Leif

    It’s sad to see how all the news today reduce Nik Software to snapseed. Snapseed is the smalles and most unimportant thing of Nik Software. Sure Google bought them also to maybe integrate a snapseed like app into Android OS or the G+ App, but I guess they plan much more. Some kind of cloud editing software or lightroom plugins with tight g+ integration or whatever…I’m sure they got them not just because of snapseed.

  • Joseph Teeter

    Exactly. Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, not even a mention.

  • Ian Ludwig

    You tried VSCO yet? I have been looking at it and this might be a good push for me. Wait, they have an iphone app too so they will probably be bought also in a year or two…

  • Patrick La Roque

    I can somewhat understand tech sites solely focusing on Snapseed as though it’s Nik’s only product. But here? Guys come on. This is a sad, sad day for photographers if history is any indication. Google did not purchase Snapseed. They purchased the entire company. This is beyond scary.

  • Keru

    Well, Google is probably buying a good pack of patents too : Nik’s UPoint-Technology, denoiser, sharpener, and so on….

    And, as far as i know, google isn’t dumb enough to kill a healhy company with products that are not competing with google’s products.

  • K. G. Brown


  • jams

    The problem is that if they do the same as they did with sparrow, they simply kill the products to maybe in the future implemets some of them in his apps or to use de team to develop some kind of features in his apps.

  • Benicio Murray

    now that’s a depressing thought :/

  • Jeremy

    It’s interesting that as of yesterday morning their site had around 50 replies to their news release, all negative, and as of yesterday afternoon all comments were disabled.

  • Matt

    It could be worse, they could have been bought by yahoo. Still, not a good move for the users of Nik software. The only thing of theirs I use is Snapseed and I think it is one of the best exploiters of the Ipad interface. But, I don’t necessarily see this as a good move for Snapseed either. Hope for the best I guess.