Why did Google Close Picnik?

April 15, 2012
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Back in 2008  Picnik was cited as one of the best online image editing sites in the business.  
Two years later in 2010 there was another review  no less enthusiastic about Picnik after Google bought the software and added it to Picasa. Other recent reviews  put Picnik well above such competition as SplashUp and even Photoshop Express – see here and then here. And Picnik certainly puts the $1 billion dollar Instagram to technical shame. So why get rid of a very good thing?

Google Motives

Here is the official announcement on the Picnik site:

And here is Google’s official explanation:

Since joining Google in 2010, the Picnik team has been working on Picnik while helping to create photo editing magic in Google’s products. But now we get to focus. Picnik will be closing its doors on April 19, 2012. Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions to help you through the shutdown process. If your question isn’t answered, visit the Forum to get more help.

But there are other possibilities. Google is locked in a mortal battle with Facebook for Social Media Eyeballs and Time. Hey the Campbellford Library now has displaced Google with Facebook as its home page for all browser usage. Since Google+ was launched last summer Mark Zuckerberg not only joined Google+ but has stolen some nifty Google+ ideas – like Circles => Groups, albums and photos now display with more Google+ aplomb and the Timeline and Cover Profile page have stimulated answer backs from Google+ recently.

So Picnik is now abn exclusive as CreativeKit in Google+:

But the $64000 question is for how long? One indicator that Creative Kit may survive past April 19th is the fact that a careful check shows no sign of the Flash code that propelled Picnik in the past. This would mean that Google+ with Creative Kit/Picnik could run on Apple  iOS devices as well as Android. But I have been duped before by clever hiding of Flash code.

Also Picasa on the desktop now supports a whole series of effects and filters that look like carbon copies of their Picnik counterparts – but hey, this is just Google porting and deploying its assets prudently. But Google surely know there are other online software sites that offer nearly the same as Picnik [see What Remains just below]. The amazing thing is that Goggle did not have the presence of mind to create Picnik-for-Mobiles. Heck, if that venture had  failed Google could still could have sold  it to Facebook for a cool $1billion.

What Remains

In contrast the two programs recommended as replacements for Picnik, Aviary and PicMonkey, are still Flash dependent. Here is Aviary:

Ooops and look where Aviary is being used. Apparently there is a version for Android as well.

Meanwhile PicMonkey is being developed by some ex-Picnikers. Here is what it looks like [editor takes the 5th on the beauty babe]:

The niftiness of Picnik has been well preserved  and cleverly extended at PicMonkey. The load time is still a bit long averaging 15-20 seconds but on a 100kb connection to the Web. But so does Creative Kit [alias Picnik] in Google+ .

Summary

I am not sure I have come up with  an adequate explanation for why Google is closing Picnik[but imagine what a task Mark Z. will have with his new shareholders on Instagram]. It may be the rush to supremacy in the new Client Computing tripped off by Steve Jobs when he made Microsoft and  Windows  also-rans in  sales and profits by a factor of 2 or more times. The blood lust was evident back in the late 1980s and early 1990s for PC supremacy. Now that battle for consumer loyalty is joined again across game/media players, cameras, smartphones, tablets and what remains of PCs. So one should expect a few Goofles along the way.

One Response to Why did Google Close Picnik?

  1. July 4, 2012 at 1:23 am

    When Picnic first announced that it was closing in April, it said it was to move on to better things. I don’t see anything better than Picnik. I still don’t understand why it was closed when thousands of people loved Picnik. I am very upset with Google. Have they lost it? Is this a sneaky way to force people to get Google+ in order to use Picnik/Creative Kit? Is the competition with Facebook that important to win? I think (if that is the case)that Google has only made enemies of Picnik users. Who’d want to join the people who destroyed it? Personally, I don’t like Facebook and if we’ve lost Picnik because of competition with Facebook then I think Google is a very sore loser. It doesn’t show the world that Google is a good place to join a social club. I hope my thinking is wrong because I don’t want to think ill of Google, but they sure have caused me to lose all respect for them. I’d like to better understand what is going on. It’s a nightmare losing Picnik. I think we Picnikers deserve a truthful explanation.

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