Pics.io is a photo album and raw developer that resides in the cloud
posted Friday, August 22, 2014 at 3:39 PM EDT
When Adobe moved its solutions to the cloud a while back, a new era was ushered in for many creatives who use products such as Photoshop, Premiere and the like. Not just because Adobe moved away from individual per-app licensing to a subscription-based licensing scheme, but also because the move to cloud-based services blurred the lines between desktop application and online application even more.
Still, in order to use Adobe's products you need to install a desktop app on your computer, so the transition to the cloud is only a partial one. The next logical step would be to move the applications themselves into the cloud – which is exactly what the new photo service Pics.io attempts to do. Working entirely inside your browser, Pics.io offers photo organization, sharing and editing – even of raw files.
While Pics.io may not (yet) be a full replacement of Adobe Lightroom or the workflow solution of your choice, it demonstrates what the future of cloud computing could look like. The app – if we may call it that – offers photo organization that can compete with desktop applications, and at the same time offers basic editing of raw files, including brightness adjustments, cropping, and even a full-fledged curves tool.
For storage, Pics.io relies on Google Drive, so you can access your photos from anywhere. This means not only that you can work with your photos from any location and on any computer, but also makes sharing RAW images between multiple parties a lot easier. No need to update Adobe Camera RAW, just edit your RAW photos in the cloud.
Pics.io's service has just started, and according to the developer, it's being used by about 9,000 people so far. While that number doesn't represent active suers, it's an impressive start to be sure.
While local workflows are the cornerstone of RAW editing, rapid advances in technology and cloud horsepower open the possibility of a cloud workflow for RAW images. Might that MacBook Air become a viable option for A7R and 645Z RAW workloads? The possibility is tantalizing.
Of course a lot will have to do with how good Pics.io can make their RAW engine. High quality RAW conversion is something of a dark art and it's not easy to get right, especially given camera brands' penchant for creating their own RAW formats.
Signing up with Pics.io is free, and if you already have a Google Drive account, you can get right started with organizing and editing your photos online. More information is available on the Pics.io website.