The Picnik is over: Google plans to shutter popular photo editing service, other products

The Picnik team jumped for joy at the time of the acquisition by Google.

Google is shutting down Picnik, the popular online photo editing service that it acquired nearly two years ago. The closure comes as part of a larger strategy by the search giant to focus on core products.

In a blog post, Google also said that it is merging, open-sourcing or phasing out several other products. Those on the list include the data management platform Needlebase; Web analytics service Urchin Software; the Social Graph API; Google Sky Map; and Google Message Continuity.

“Resolutions can be hard, and changing products that people love is hard too,” said Dave Girouard, vice president of product management, in the post. “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.”

During Google’s earnings call Thursday, CEO Larry Page said that the company was doubling down on Android, YouTube, Gmail, Google + and other products central to its business.

“There’s so many opportunities for Google today, but to make a real impact in the world we need to make hard choices about where to focus our efforts,” said Page. Later in the call, he added that Google was concentrating efforts on products “that we really care about and that really matter to the world.”

With today’s announcement, Picnik is now slated to be shut down on April 19th. The Web-based service, which was free to use and included a $25 annual premium service, allowed users to crop, resize, touch-up and add special effects to photos.

“We’re retiring the service on April 19, 2012 so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products,” Google wrote. “You can download a zip file of your creations through Picnik Takeout or copy them to Google+. As of now, the premium service is free to everyone. Premium members will receive a full refund in the coming weeks.” More on the closure in the Picnik blog post, which notes that the team will now get to focus on “even awesomer things.”

Picnik was founded in Seattle in 2005 by Mike Harrington, Darrin Massena and Jonathan Sposato. [Editor's note: Sposato is an investor in GeekWire.] 

Picnik quickly grew into one of the biggest photo editing sites on the Web despite competition from the likes of photo-editing giant Adobe. At the time of the acquisition, Picnik was profitable and attracting about 17 million monthly visitors.

Jonathan Sposato

“Google processes petabytes of data every day, and with their worldwide infrastructure and world-class team, it is truly the best home we could have found,” the Picnik team wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “Under the Google roof we’ll reach more people than ever before, impacting more lives and making more photos more awesome.”

Harrington and Massena left Google last year, and Sposato continues to work out of the company’s Seattle office.

During a talk at the Seattle 2.0 Awards two months after the acquisition, Sposato explained why the company met with success despite competition from big players and a market that he said didn’t really need another photo editing service.

“Picnik was successful because the product was really, really well engineered and well built,” said Sposato at the time, adding that there was also lot of luck involved in the company’s success.

We’ve reached out to Sposato and Google, and we’ll update the post when we hear more.

UPDATE: A Google spokeswoman referred us to the Google and Picnik blog posts, and Sposato declined to comment.

FOLLOW-UP: “After Google pulls the plug, vultures flock around Picnik”

Previously on GeekWire: Flickr cleans house, plans to ditch Picnik and other features

  • Guest

    Best wishes to Team Picnik on future Google endeavours! Google+’s photo features could definitely stand to be improved if I’m to move my photos over from Facebook.

    • Guest

      Seconded!

  • Jessica

    NOOOOOOOOO!!! Please, no, I love that site!

    • Guest

      Well, you’ve got about 90 more days to love it before Google turns off the life-support.

    • Ritamcentire

      Me too!! I use it daily to edit my Etsy shop photos….what do we do???? I wont know where to go from here!!!! HELP PLEASE?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!

      • Julie

        try 
        http://ipiccy.com/ - its pretty much the same as picnik and they plan to add all features that picnik had. Its free now too…;)

        • http://twitter.com/one44one brandi fitzgerald

          iPiccy is unfortunately not nearly as advanced as Picnik, nor as fast.  Picasa 3.9.4 by Google is their FREE desktop photo editing/organizing program that has now integrated a lot of the base (high quality) features of Picnik. I do have hope they will gather the more advanced features of Picnik which probably only 3-6 % of the most advanced users of Picnik use anyhow. Fingers Crossed. 

  • Morgan Zamzow

    Oh my god I’m so angry/sad now. ;^;

  • Sceptic

    another failed acquisition

  • http://twitter.com/KM_Alexander K. Michael Alexander

    LOL @ pulling up that old photo of us. :D

  • http://justthelittledamianthings.tumblr.com/ N7flower

    Waitaitwaitwaitwait. So, can we still edit photos on Google, like with Picnik? Or is Goggle just ditching it and screwing us all over? Because I run a blog that basically RELIES on making stuff with it.

    • Angry

      Me too. I run a blog that relies on Picnik and I guess my blog will just have to DIE now. Thanks, Google. Thanks. I neeeed to find a site that is EXTREMELY similar to Picnik.

    • Jessymichelle

      Google+ is only offering about 1/4 of the picnik editing tools in an attempt to force picnik users to flock over to Google+ to up the # of users, because they can’t even begin to compare to Facebook.  IMO Google+ is a hack social networking site. You can register for Google+ and check it out like I did, but after how disappointing it was to see the very few picnik options that were moved over, I deleted my Google+ account. When you do so, you get an opportunity to explain why you wish to delete the account. I told them I didn’t like being manipulated into using Google+.
      If enough of us boycott Google+ then their plan will have failed.

  • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

    I’ve used Picnik five times in just the last two days, to edit pics. I haven’t found any online tool that’s easier or more fun. *Sigh.* Hope whatever Google does, they leave this functionality intact. I’m going to miss it.

    • All7s

      Have you tried Pixlr.com yet? Specifically Pixlr-o-matic is a lot of fun! I think you’ll like it.

  • Bob Silver

    I hate to see Picnik go away. But best wishes to Jonathan and the team.

  • Guest

    I use this website VERY often, on a semi regular basis in fact, so to see it go, angers me. 

  • Guest

    I use this website VERY often, on a semi regular basis in fact, so to see it go, angers me. 

  • 123

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO. I HATE GOOGLE FOR DOING THIS. I LOVE PICNIK. They are so… so… so… HEARTLESS!

    • Ritamcentire

      MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY!! I rely on Picnik for my Etsy shop photo editing and use it daily! My shop is my job and how I pay my rent so what do I do now? I need to find something extremely like Picnik! I love love love Ortonish! What am I gonna do without Ortonish and Eye Bright!?!!?!??!?!?!??!?   AGH!!!

      • All7s

        I suggest you try Pixlr.com, I have been using it for a long time and it is easy and a lot of fun to work with. You can pick and chose the tool you want for the job you need to get done

  • Monica Harrington

    I’m sorry that Picnik won’t be available anymore.  I really enjoyed seeing it grow from a tiny handful of users (mostly a subset of Darrin and Mike and Jonathan’s friends) to tens of millions of users all over the world.  

    Personally, I’m going to miss dressing up our photos (and dogs) with all the fun effects, and I’ll especially miss the wonderful conversations we had with random Picnik users all over the world.

  • http://offbeatempire.com Ariel

    I was sad when Flickr announced that they’d be removing the Picnik integration there, and I’m downright crestfallen that Picnik will shut down completely. (Although I suppose not surprised, really.) I know that many of Picnik’s functions have been integrated into Picasa, so I’ll be curious to see whether those remain. 

  • Favstuff4u

    I haved usee Picnik everyday for the past couple years to edit my pictures that I put in my Ebay store. I am soooo MAD right now. Looks like I will have to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop. Really REALLY a dumb decision to close it. Whatever… It was to good to be true…
     

    • Ritamcentire

      Yep….too good to be true! Ive tried all the others and they are ridiculous! Picnik was/is genius!!!!

  • Chellebell1986

    it’s netflick all over again!  i think Google is really going to regret this.  they are angering ALOT of people!

  • Guest

    If you make a choice to store your personal data somewhere, I don’t feel sorry for you when the company decides to discontinue the service.

    Why do people never seem to learn this lesson, no matter how many times this happens?

    Sure, I keep some music on Amazon, but I also keep it somewhere else. Same thing with Dropbox. I assume all of these services will not exist (at least in a state I care for/am willing to pay for) in the near future.

    • pinkstergal

      For me, this isn’t about photo storage. I never used Picnik for that. I use them for their photo editing tools for my ebay business. I don’t think you get why the rest of us are upset about this.

    • Guest

      Back in the PC era, we frequently used computer applications, or “apps,” to do tasks like editing photos. The app vendors would frequently update their apps to add new features, jettisoning old ones. We understood that as app users, we would have to accept changing functionality as time went on.

      Today, in the post-PC era, we rely on web-based applications, or “apps,” for the same purposes as before. That our web-based apps change is of no import; our computer apps also changed, and so our abilities change as well.

      As a Google customer, I look forward to the innovative things that my Google apps will be able to do with the technology reaped from Picnik’s absorption into the Google app ecosystem.

    • Xxxproxy

      stfu asshole

    • Sharonbakar

      It really isn’t about photo storage, although maybe some people use it that way.  it’s about a site that does many of the things that Photoshop and Gimp do, intuitively and simply.

    • Ancraig90

      its not about storing photos. its the easiest one click photo editing tool online and nothing anyone has suggested so far comes anywhere near in comparison to picnik.

  • http://oliveloafdesign.wordpress.com/ Stacy

    bad move. i for one, will not use Google+ now. i used picnik {premium} daily for editng pics for my blog and etsy.  anybody have suggestions?

    • All7s

      yep, try pixlr.com, works like a charm… different tools for different needs, all for free, on line, quick and easy!
      cheers

  • http://twitter.com/cellartracker Eric LeVine

    Why would an entrepreneur ever want to create something loved by many and then sell it only to see it killed? What was the point?

    • Guest

      Money.

      • http://twitter.com/cellartracker Eric LeVine

        Yeah I know…

        It makes me very glad I have never personally taken a penny from investors and don’t ever want to sell my own site. It also brings to mind the slow killing of RecipeZaar as memorialized by one of the founders here: http://troyandgay.com/2009/01/23/almost-the-end-of-recipezaar/

        • Guest

          If you were to take money and sell your site, you could start another one. That’s what the folks behind eBay, PayPal, and Skype have done. Serial entrepreneurism, they call it.

    • Xxxproxy

      money, but should have had enough with 17 million monthly users ffs grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • http://www.nodepression.com/ Kyla Fairchild

    Two questions…

    Why would Google pay a bunch of money to acquire Picnik and then shut it down?

    Does anyone know of any other web based photo editing service? I use Picnik semi frequently to resize, crop photos and decrease the file size for web publishing.  If someone could recommend any substitutes (even if they are inferior) it would be much appreciated.

    • Sharonbakar

      The Gimp is free and very powerful, but takes a lot more learning. 

    • All7s

      pixlr.com is a great substitute, equally as good if not better (but of course that is only my personal opinion), it’s quick and free. Depending on what you need you can add cool effects with Pixlr-o-matic, do quick and easy editing with Pixlr Express or the more advanced stuff wtih Pixlr Editor (more along the lines of Photoshop). 

      • Ruthmarie Hicks

        Why are you spamming this board with Pixir?  If you want people to use it you are going about it the WRONG way.  Its annoying. 

    • Jesss

      Google+ is only offering about 1/4 of the picnik editing tools in an attempt to force picnik users to flock over to Google+ to up the # of users, because they can’t even  begin to compare to Facebook. IMO Google+ is a hack social networking site. You can register for Google+ and check it out like I did, but after how disappointing it was to see the very few picnik options that were moved over, I deleted my Google+ account. When you do so, you get an opportunity to explain why you wish to delete the account. I told them I didn’t like being manipulated into using Google+.If enough of us boycott Google+ , then their plan will have failed.

      Fotoflexer and Pixlr are close seconds in being “user friendly”, but nowhere near as cool. The Gimp is much more difficult to navigate –closer to photoshop’s style.

  • http://www.nodepression.com/ Kyla Fairchild

    Two questions…

    Why would Google pay a bunch of money to acquire Picnik and then shut it down?

    Does anyone know of any other web based photo editing service? I use Picnik semi frequently to resize, crop photos and decrease the file size for web publishing.  If someone could recommend any substitutes (even if they are inferior) it would be much appreciated.

  • Cyndinagary

    This is a sad day.
    Has anyone tried FotoFlexer?

  • pissed

    I think it is time i stop using google all together, search engine, adwords, adsence, droid phone, youtube, gmail, google voice  I’m tired of them trying to run the world.

    • Xxxproxy

      pissed here too, fuck goodgle and everything connected with it GRRRRRRRRRR

  • Xxxproxy

    Curse you Google! We know how to use all the tools on this and wtf are we going to have to learn something new now! You just made about 17Million enemies a month GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  • Sharonbakar

    I feel very sad indeed.  I’ve loved working with Picnik, and have found it very easy and effective.  Maybe the move to Google+ will work, and maybe not.  But I’ve already had one very upsetting experience with Google+ – after I signed up i found a lot of my photos already on the site.  I could not think how they got there and deleted them – and now my blog of 5 years has no photos.  I’m not a fan therefore of everything being in one place and interlinked.

  • Sugarbee

    No!!! I am totally pissed off!! Love using Picnik for all my photo editing. Have already paid  for 2 subscriptions since being introduced to it. So much easier than Photoshop which I find difficult to us. Where to from here?. 

    • All7s

      I like Pixlr.com… give it a try

  • Jesss

    Google+ is only offering about 1/4 of the picnik editing tools in an attempt to force picnik users to flock over to Google+ to up the # of users, because they can’t even  begin to compare to Facebook. IMO Google+ is a hack social networking site. You can register for Google+ and check it out like I did, but after how disappointing it was to see the very few picnik options that were moved over, I deleted my Google+ account. When you do so, you get an opportunity to explain why you wish to delete the account. I told them I didn’t like being manipulated into using Google+.If enough of us boycott Google+ , then their plan will have failed.
     

  • Me

    This reminds me of when Myspace shut down Imeem.com (that amazing music social networking site) without warning just to lure all the users over to Myspace because everyone was moving to Facebook. I was so pissed off.

  • MS.MOUISE

    hey, pay attendtion pls …i hear facebook will b close in Feb or March 2012 move 2 back old myspace yaya i hope so .I WAS SO PISSED OFF N AM SO SAD ND SO ANGRY ..I LOSE EVERYTHING  DAM .I REALLY MISS IT SO MUCH …I LOVE PINCNIK SO MUCH BUT AM APPECT .the picnik move to new google new style new style i hope so !!! GOOD LUCKY 2 EVERY1 .. GOD BLESS ALL OF THEM ..

  • MandyJones

    Pretty sure this pisses a lot of people off…..so why do it?

    Im still a bit confused though….will there still be the features, and Picnik was just moved? Or is it completely gone?
    Hate when they ruin something perfectly perfect…
    <///3

  • Gonewtthwd

    I am sooooo pissed. I love picnik….I am not going to google,,,F*** them, I am pissed. there is no reason to shut picnik down. I will never find a user friendly photo editor that has everything that picnik has and is not slow….I am sooooo pissed. I won’t go to google because I feel like I am forced. what a stupid move to buy a great site just to shut it down….sure it is money but with all things out there google has it would not have hurt them to leave picnik alone!

  • Lmartin22709

    What will the new picnik be called?

  • Anotherreasontohate

    feck google to hell.   srsly….  no reason to have done this.  I can’t wait until some other company comes out and google follows aol into obscurity.   Or

  • mrko

    2pac