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Google Snaps Up Instagram Competitor Snapseed

Nik Software, the German developer behind the popular iOS app Snapseed, said on Monday that it has been acquired by Google. The announcement was backed by Google's Vic Gundotra over on Google+ who welcomed the studio into the Google collective.

"For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, 'photography first', as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools," the company said in a short update. "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."

According to unnamed sources, Nik Software offers other apps for photographers like Color Efex Pro and Dfine for Mac and Windows, but it was Snapseed that Google was seemingly after – the "golden egg" of the acquisition. The app's track record includes landing Apple's iPad App of the Year award in 2011, and gaining over nine million users within its first year on the App Store.

Unnamed "insider" sources also claim that the portion of Nik Software that works on the Snapseed service, previously stationed in San Diego, will be moved to Google's headquarters in Mountain View. The team will supposedly work directly with the Google+ platform although Google has yet to officially announce any relocation or reassignments.

"We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone," Gundotra said on Google+.

Snapseed is similar to Instagram in that it offers editing tools and a library of filters that users can apply to photos. In turn, these images can be uploaded and shared on Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram itself. So far it's unknown what will happen with the actual iOS app – will the team continue on with development, or will the features be integrated into the Google+ apps?

Google's acquisition arrives after Facebook purchased Instagram earlier this year for $1 billion. The super-popular photo-sharing service remains as a stand-alone, and that may hold true for Snapseed as well. Nik Software originally launched Snapseed for the iPad in June 2011, followed by an iPhone release on August 2011. A version for the PC and Mac OS X was launched earlier this year.

In addition to the Snapseed announcement, Gundotra said Google+ hit an important milestone this week. "Over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+," he said. "It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+."

Sounds like a good time to introduce a new photo-sharing app for Google's social network, no?


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