Google didn’t invent the smartphone, that was actually Palm (R.I.P.), but Google does everything to give market leader Apple a really tough time with the ascent of Android. Google likes to take on competitors on many fronts — maybe, or hopefully, even Adobe. The Mountain View company announced that they’re improving their RAW conversion services. Looks like Google wants a bigger share of a photo market currently mostly controlled by Adobe.
Automatically synced Google+ and Google Drive now support RAW uploads of over 70 cameras (excluding DNG) and offers new editing features. As before, RAW files may be uploaded to Google+/Drive for storage, and are automatically converted to JPEGs for previewing. And yes, you remember Google’s acquisition of Nik Software. Question is, could Google’s ever improving Web offerings for photo editing and management be part of a bigger plan?Adobe had it coming. Think photo editing, think Adobe. But then there came the cloud. Today we enjoy a growing list of free, good value and very capable Photoshop alternatives. And the list keeps growing thanks to the Adobe Creative Cloud money trap.
Many former loyal Adobe users today say anything but Adobe. The former monopolist will likely be forced to offer further price cuts, but over time more competitors will add CS features they don’t yet have. Except for maybe corporate environments and highly specialized publishing Adobe will no longer be needed.
None of the photo editing alternatives ever posed a real threat to Adobe. Even today they’re the epitome of photo editing. But they’re miserable on connectivity. Google is strong at almost everything with connectivity being it’s strongest point. Google has an online solution for nearly anything. But they lack a good set of photography tools.
Then came Nik.
Nik can do much of the prettifying and altering Photoshop can. Nik is since years a household name among professionals. We’re likely to see Google adding more elaborate editing tools to its online arsenal. Next step online RAW editing? Well it’s a huge market. Maybe the photographer is dead. But not photography.
Visual is the new content. Photography is more alive than ever. Today, every snippet of information has an image associated with it. Google serving all levels of photography — from storing to sharing to monetizing and, yes, editing — will further eat into Adobe’s once undisputed monopoly.
Google can own the entire process from shoot to sale, and we haven’t seen anything yet of tomorrow’s and after tomorrow’s photography market and community. Over time, expect a better online integration of photography workflow and editing tools.
Google, strengthened by an improved Nik, will compete directly with Adobe and rather sooner than later offer a complete solution, be it cloud-based or not. Sticking point is the uploading of dozens of gigabytes. That’s Adobe’s advantage because despite the “cloud” — a pure marketing term to justify a seemingly more profitable subscription model — Adobe stores files and software on your computer.
Also, Google’s storage prices for more than 15GB are too high. Flickr offers 1TB for free.
Maybe a hybrid model, who knows, but Adobe has certainly seen its best days.
Cameras supported by Google+/Drive’s improved RAW-to-JPEG conversion are (right, where’s Fujifilm, but support for additional cameras is coming):