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Google acquires Nik Software, and iOS photo app Snapseed

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Facebook has an emerging competitor in the wake of the Instagram acquisition. Google has acquired Nik Software, a 17-year-old company that develops digital image editing tools. But there’s a catch: A report from TheVerge says that the acquisition’s motivation was so that Google can get its hands on Snapseed, an iOS photograph app.

The acquisition should bring the coveted photography-based mobile reach (a huge motivation for Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram) to Google’s social network, Google+. Like Instagram, Snapseed adds a vintage flair to your photos, although it also has comprehensive in-app photo editing functions and photo-altering filters including tilt-shift effects. It was also an iOS first app – Snapseed started out as an iPad app and followed up with an iPhone app launched in August 2011. The differences lie, of course, in the fact that the number of Snapseed users is dwarfed by Instagram’s user base. In Snapseed’s latest figures (released in the middle of June), Nik Software revealed said it had amassed more than nine million users. It’s defintiely a far cry from Instagram’s 100 million users.

Currently Snapseed claims the spot of the 13th top paid app in the photograph genre in Apple’s App Store (it costs $4.99) and the 178th top grossing app, according to Appdata

Snapseed may not have the largest number of users, but is has a decent reputation and Google now also has unprecedented access to Nik Software’s product line of photography software that typically runs for just under $100 dollar to upwards of $300. We could see Google wrapping Nik Software products into improving photos and maybe even videos on Google+. 

In a Google Plus post by Vic Gundotra, the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, the acquisition was confirmed and corroborated by the official announcement by Nik Software. “We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. 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,” said Gundotra.

What hasn’t been announced yet is whether Snapseed would continue to live on iOS devices, although we can’t see why that wouldn’t be the case. Of course launching the Android app will be a major priority for Google. We checked out Snapseed’s site, and noticed that the Android app was in the works and will only work on operating systems running the Android OS 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) version or later.

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