Picnik was an online photo editor that Google acquired in 2010. It was a free, user-friendly alternative to editing software such as Photoshop.
Users could upload images from their computers and do all kinds of cool stuff with them. They could crop photos, resize them, adjust the colors, add effects, and even apply personalized filters such as frames, funny mustaches, or flowers.
Google shared their decision to discontinue the service in January 2012. Customers were advised to save their data using the Google Takeout service before the tool closed permanently on April 19, 2012.
Even though the tool was successful and users like it, Google wanted to focus on other projects. Later, it was found that the aim was to integrate the Picnik technology in a new Google+ feature called “Creative Kit.” The company was spending lots of effort developing the social network at that time, so it was logical they would try and add all the trendy tools to it.
Furthermore, Picnik used a Flash-based technology, which was gradually getting replaced with HTML5 in 2012. It was easier for Google to adapt Picnik’s relevant features to the new format in Google+ than to redevelop the whole tool separately.
Customers weren’t overly happy with Google’s decision. Not all who liked Picnik were interested in using Google+, and some were also using the editor for work – something the social media wasn’t going to be helpful with.
Still, Google made a nice gesture to their customers and allowed everyone to use the Premium features until the tool shut down. They also refunded any pre-paid subscriptions so that previous Premium members wouldn’t feel cheated.