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.

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