Web

Google closing Picnik, along with a number of other services

google closing picnik along with a number of other servicesGoogle has announced it will be retiring the online photo-editing service Picnik, together with a number of other products that the web giant feels “replicate other features, haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience.”

Services that are affected besides Picnik include:

– Google Message Continuity (GMC): support to be ended. “Current GMC customers will be able to use GMC for the duration of their contract.”

– Google Sky Map: to be open-sourced. Google will be “collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University in a partnership that will see further development of Sky Map as a series of student projects.”

– Needlebase: to be retired on June 1, 2012.

– Social Graph API: “The API isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and is being deprecated as of today.” To be fully retired on April 20, 2012.

– Urchin: “New Urchin Software licenses will no longer be available after March 2012.”

“Changing products that people love is hard….But we’re excited to focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google—an experience that will change the lives of millions of people,” Google’s vice president of product management Dave Girouard wrote on the company’s official blog explaining the decision.

Picnik, which was bought by Google two years ago, will be retired on April 19, however, Picnik announced on its homepage that some of its photo editing tools will be moved to Google+, the new social networking site which this week claimed to have 90 million users. 

Until Picnik’s closure, users will have the chance to try its premium services for free, and anyone that’s already paid for them will receive a full refund.

Picnik is undoubtedly a very popular product, with an interface that makes photo editing a breeze. Anything from a simple crop to advanced special effects are offered, and the online tools will no doubt be missed by many.

It’s not clear yet how many of Picnik’s photo-editing tools will be pushed across to Google+, but what if you don’t want to open a Google+ account but would still like a quick and simple web-based solution when it comes to tweaking your pics?

Here are some suggestions that should help you out:

FotoFlexer – very similar to Picnik in look and feel; offers many effects, including distortions; ability to work with layers, too. One imagines this site is going to see a big increase in traffic once Picnik disappears from the scene.

Phixr – not such a clean interface; consider it as a simplified version of Picnik. Offers a few interesting options such as noise removal and ‘fun effects.’

befunky – another site which operates along the same lines as Picnik, though befunky feels a little clunkier to use. Still, it offers lots of editing options and may appeal to some, especially those who like to jazz up their images with stickers and such like.

iPiccy – nice, clean interface; lots of options for editing and adding effects. The site is currently in beta, but we can see this one becoming pretty popular with those who enjoy using Picnik.

pixlr – a more Photoshop-looking interface, with a comprehensive set of adjustment tools. Decent filter list. Much more powerful than Picnik, but may be daunting for some. Clean interface though and well worth a look.

Home Theater

Apple’s show time event: A whiplash-inducing bundle of copycat services

Apple unleashed a barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its latest event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Photography

How to transfer your photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.
Home Theater

Yesterday’s Apple event was a whiplash-inducing parade of copycat services

Apple showed off a massive barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its Showtime event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Mobile

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
News

Drunk shoppers spend $48B per year while intoxicated, mostly on Amazon

Drunk shoppers spend more than $400 per year, according to the results of a survey carried out by The Hustle. The drunk shopping industry is apparently worth $48 billion, and Amazon is turning out to be the biggest beneficiary.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.