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Google picks up Picnik for cloud-based photo editing

Google announced today that it has acquired Seattle-based online photo editing service Picnik. The terms of the acquisition have yet to be disclosed.

Picnik is a web-based photo editing service that allows users to upload images from their computers or popular social networks like Facebook and Flickr. The service is similar to popular editing tool Photoshop, which requires pricey software or downloading its new web service. The service is free — but for a one-time annual fee of $25, users can upgrade to a premium subscription. This comes with more fonts, advanced editing tools, clip-art and photo touch-up capabilities.

If you’re technically inclined, Picnick also has an open API, letting you incorporate the service into any web site.

According to Picnik’s blog post, the service will remain the same for the time being. But, as the New York Time’s blog points out, it is also offered through Google’s photo storage site Picasa, which was acquired in 2004. For this reason, the service’s connection to sites like Facebook or Flickr may be short-lived.

Picnik is the latest in a string of Google acquisitions, including social search company Aardvark for $50 million and email startup reMail — both coincidentally founded by ex-Googlers.

The online photo editing market has several big players, including Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and Pixlr, and up-and-comers like photo startup Smilebox, which recently announced that it raised $2 million in additional funding to expand into Europe.

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