It's coming as a shock to some, and inevitable to others, but Google has snapped up Nik Software, the German company behind the popular Snapseed photo-editing app for the Apple iOS platform. The move comes just months after Facebook shelled out a billion dollars in April to acquire Instagram, a direct Snapseed competitor. How good is Snapseed? So good that Apple named it "2011 iPad App of the Year."
Announced on Google+ by Vic Gundotra, Google's Senior Vice President of Engineering, he said, "We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone." He also noted that more than 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+ and that it now has in excess of 100,000,000 monthly active users.
In addition to powering up the photo-sharing aspect of Google+, it's possible that Google will integrate the technology into Picasa, its software and web service for organizing, editing, and sharing photos.
Aside from Snapseed, Nik makes a popular suite of professional-grade image-processing plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop that includes Dfine, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Sharpener Pro. The company's technology is also built into Nikon's Capture NX3 image-processing application.
In a statement issued by Nik, "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."
Founded in 1995, Nik Software is based in Hamburg, Germany, and maintains its U.S. headquarters in San Diego. Nikon made a minority equity investment in 2005. Google's acquisition price for Nik was not disclosed.