Google-Owned Nik Software will Continue Offering High-End Photo Tools

When news of Google’s acquisition of Nik Software emerged a week ago, most of the tech press (and this blog) focused on one particular offering: Snapseed. It’s a highly-acclaimed mobile photo editing app that has been growing like a weed as of late, so it made sense that Google would want it to participate in the ongoing mobile photo sharing war, right? Well, maybe not.

As our commenters quickly pointed out, Nik Software is much more than Snapseed. The company develops a number of well-known photo editing tools used by a large number of professional photographers — tools for things like HDR, black and white conversions, noise reduction, and sharpening.

HDR guru Trey Ratcliff writes that the acquisition is an indication that Google is taking photography more and more seriously:

Most of the silicon-valley-bubble-press probably does not know much about Nik Software, and doesn’t realize that this is a company built by and for professional photographers. Even though their software is designed for “pros”, I’m confident in saying that 90% of their customers are amateurs who are using these same tools to make them look like pros! Nik makes amazing tools, and I am really looking forward to seeing them bleed into my daily life of using Google+.

Now, the significance of this acquisition should not be overlooked. This is not like, say, the United States acquiring Puerto Rico (think FB and Instagram – where Facebook is a social-network of people acquiring a smaller social-network of people) but instead, this is like the United States buying Lockheed Martin.

Google VP Vic Gundotra also turned to Google+ to reaffirm his company’s commitment to high-end photographic tools:

Earlier this week I proudly welcomed +Nik Software to Google. They’ve been making pictures more awesome for 17 years, and we’re excited to bring Nik’s expertise to the entire Google+ community!

I also want to make something clear: we’re going to continue offering and improving Nik’s high-end tools and plug-ins. Professionals across the globe use Nik to create the perfect moment in their photographs (e.g.,, and we care deeply about their artistry.

Together with Nik, we’ll continue to put “photography first.”

It’s exciting that a web company like Google is snapping up companies like Nik. Imagine how awesome it would be if Google decide to dedicate its engineering might and resources toward providing high-end photo editing tools for free?

(via The Next Web via Engadget)

  • kimberly

    its a cash cow. or a cash fly in regards to google… but generate a lot of dedicated photographers. such as myself. about 1000 dollars worth. I’ve used them for 4 years and I hope they don’t backslide. I hope they still offer phone customer service for those emergency situations. but it will be cool to see if Google acquiring, will bring more editing tools to us in the future somehow but I don’t see how did Nik can get any better. we just need dedicated video editing from Nick and they’ll be the total package!

  • Dan Donovan

    I don’t mind paying for a quality product.

  • Jeremy Madore

    I hope this never becomes a “free” product. Keep charging good money for high quality products, please. It’s one of the many minor things that keeps the Pros and Amateurs apart. Amateurs get PSE and call it a day… Pros know the value of the full suite and invest for just cause.

    Though, perhaps I can suggest a happy medium for Nik/Google: go the way of Adobe and offer a monthly cloud-based program. Creative Cloud is the best thing to come about to help make that transition from Amateur to Pro!

  • Nick Solarz

    Vic Gundotra isn’t the CEO of Nik, he’s a VP at google.

  • J. Ozuna

    While I think I understand the idea you are trying to convey, I think your assertion that “high-priced items = professional photographer” is misleading, and actually kind of an insult to pros who work hard and use actual skills to make their photos look good. To insinuate that someone can just purchase high-end equipment and expensive software and automatically be a “pro” is completely wrong.

  • Jeremy Madore

    Ah, and therein lies the misinterpretation of my above statement. I never said “purchase the product, become a pro”. I said “Pros know what products to purchase, and why”. By making something free, it dilutes the value if the process.

    Re: “high-priced items = professional photographer”
    On the contrary – I was eluding to the opposite of that statement.

  • J. Ozuna

    I think I better understand where you are coming from – thanks for clarifying.

    As you can probably tell, my own personal pet peeve is seeing untrained people purchase expensive equipment and software they know little/nothing about, and then hand out business cards calling themselves “professional photographers.”

  • Michael Zhang

    Our mistake. :( Sorry about that, and thanks for catching it!

  • Roy

    So if hammers were offered for free, that would dilute the value of carpentry?

    The only difference between a pro and an amateur is that the pro is in it for the money and the amateur for his own enjoyment. Whether the tools used by either side are expensive or free is irrelevant to the value of the work they produce.

    “Amateurs get PSE and call it a day… Pros know the value of the full suite and invest for just cause.”

    I don’t know where you got that idea. You buy the full suite because (a) you can afford it and (b) you either need or just prefer it. These conditions apply in equal measures to both pros and amateurs.

  • Roy

    Why does that bother you at all?

  • Rob LaRosa

    Of course Google is going to say that. I’ll give it two years and then I’m guessing the Nik products will either disappear altogether or sold off to someone else.