Google announced its recent purchase of Nik Software, a maker of tools for photography enthusiasts. Nik Software, which is behind the Snapseed mobile app on the iPhone, is a known rival of Instagram, a company that Facebook acquired in April this year.
Google’s purchase of Nik Software will help the Mountain View company position Google Plus better against Facebook. It will allow Google Plus to present itself not only as a social network, but also as a photo-sharing service. Through Nik Software, Google might be able to draw photography fans to Google Plus.
Nik Software, a 17-year-old San Diego, California-based company, is home to around a hundred employees. It already has a fan base of professional photographers for its products like Sharpener Pro, Dfine, Viveza, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, apart from the Snapseed app.
The Snapseed app, however, remains to be the company’s most famous product. The $4.99 app boasts of 9 million users as well as awards like iPad App of the Year, Best Mobile Photo App 2012. It also enjoys a 4+ rating on the App Store. Generally, it gives users more control over the photographs they capture as compared to those found on Instagram. To date, it is only available to users of the iPhone and the iPad, but reportedly, it is preparing an Android version of the app, as well.
Through Nik Software’s technology, Google appears to be aiming to present itself as a service on which users can do more sophisticated photo editing. Google is already offering at present some basic photo features such as unlimited storage for pictures through Google+, and basic photo editing options through Picasa, which allows users to add filters and adjust colors and lighting.
Google, however, has not revealed its specific plans for Nik Software, including whether it has plans of pulling the plug on its other products, or keeping them as options. What is clear, at this point, is that Nik Software will be used to enhance the Google Plus experience. As Google Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra puts it on Google Plus, “We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone.”