Google Makes $150 Photo Software Suite Free

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allheart55 (Cindy E)

Today is a great day for those of us who edit photos on a PC or Mac. Google GOOGL -0.39% has announced that the entire Nik Collection of image processing tools is now free to download and use.

Formerly available at a cost of $150, the suite of seven professional-grade plugins is now available for download without charge in both Mac and Windows versions. Those who purchased the software in 2016 will receive a full and automatic refund in the next few days, according to Google.

Google’s entire Nik Collection is now available free of charge (Image Credit: Google)

The suite comprises Analogue Efex Pro, Colour Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. Together, they provide features such as the ability to emulate classic film stock and lenses as well as creating nuanced colour corrections and black and white conversions. There are also plugins for creating HDR effects and tools for sharpening up details and reducing image noise.

Google bought imaging specialists, Nik Software, back in 2012, and in so doing acquired the popular iOS-based photo editing app, Snapseed. Unsurprisingly, an Android version of Snapseed followed soon after, although a Windows-based desktop version was simultaneously discontinued.

As part of this acquisition, Google also bought the individual paid-for apps forming the Nik Collection – A software suite with a large enough user base of serious and professional customers to warrant its continued support and sale.

At that time it would have cost $499.95 to buy the complete set, but Google immediately bundled them together and reduced the price to $150 for the entire suite. Even at this price, the Nik Collection remained somewhat of an oddity within the company’s portfolio of mostly free-to-use apps.

Although still fully supported, the suite has also seen very little development in the time since launch. With competing products such as Alien Skin’s Exposure X and DxO FilmPack still going strong, it’s clear that Google wouldn’t have been able to charge $150 indefinitely without keeping up the pace.

You can download the software for Mac and Windows directly from Google.

The plugins are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and newer (CS5 for HDR Efex Pro 2), Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 to13 and Adobe Lightroom 3 and newer. It’ll also work with Apple AAPL -0.45%’s Aperture 3.1 or newer.

Source: forbes