Google cans Nik Software’s Snapseed Desktop, promises mobile apps will remain


posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM EDT

A blog post from Google earlier this week announcing what the company terms "spring cleaning" has the Internet manning its pitchforks. The search giant is preparing to discontinue a number of its tools, some of them still quite popular. One retirement, in particular, may leave photographers feeling more than a little betrayed.

Much of the Internet angst has been caused by the imminent demise of RSS feed-reading tool Google Reader. While we here at Imaging Resource feel your pain -- several IR staffers relied on Reader on a daily basis -- we'd seen this in the tea leaves, and so weren't altogether surprised. (Although we do hold out hope that a petition from and an equally vocal Twitter campaign kicked off by tech blog The Verge will bring about a change of heart.)

The swift excision of Nik Software's Snapseed Desktop from the product roster comes from deeper left field, however. Just six months ago, Google acquired popular photo app and plug-in maker Nik Software, a move that provoked an immediate outcry from photographers concerned about the future of the company's creations. Perhaps understandably, many feared that Google's interest in the company was inspired solely by its potential for expanding the Android mobile operating system, and that Nik's standalone apps and plug-ins would disappear.

Snapseed Desktop, the PC / Mac version of Nik Software's oft-praised imaging app, is no longer available to purchase after being discontinued by its new owner.

Almost before the ink had dried on the deal, Google senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra reassured the imaging community that this wasn't the case, stating that "I ... want to make something clear: we're going to continue offering and improving Nik's high-end tools and plug-ins."

The immediate discontinuation of Snapseed Desktop for both the Windows and Mac OS platforms doesn't sit comfortably with that statement, especially given that neither version has had a single update since the day after Nik's takeover was announced last year. One could argue that Snapseed makes more sense on touch-centric mobile platforms than it does on the desktop, but the fact remains that it is now no longer possible to buy a much-praised app on two of the four platforms for which it was available prior to Nik's acquisition. And, of course, customers who'd purchased Snapseed Desktop prior to the takeover -- and who may have held out hope after Gundotra's pledge of last September -- now find themselves left high and dry.

What do you think? Has Google gone back on its word, or was Snapseed Desktop simply an answer to a question that you hadn't asked? Are there any other now-discontinued Google products you'll find it hard to live without? Sound off in the comments below.