Google’s $149 Nik Collection photo editing software is now available for free

Good news for amateur and professional photograph enthusiasts. Google has just made its Nik Collection photo editing software available completely free of charge.

That collection includes seven different desktop services that fell into Google’s lap after it acquired Nik Software back in 2012. That deal was largely about getting control of popular photo app Snapseed, a pretty powerful tool in itself, but Google later pulled the remaining Nik Software services together in an attractive $149 bundle. That’s now become free, and anyone who forked out to buy it this calendar can claim a refund.

What services are we talking about here. It’s certainly beyond the basics offered by apps like Instagram, as Google itself explained:

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

Free software is always welcome since it can help democratize photography tools, but the news has some fans worried that it may be  a sign that these services will be discontinued soon. Google, of course, just killed off Picasa, which was once the center of its online photography ambition.

It’s a little too early to call the end of Nik Software, particularly when Google said that this price removal is one of its “long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools.” Beyond Snapseed, which was made free and launched on Android after the Nik Software acquisition, its portfolio also includes Google Photos, its cloud storage service for mobile that just got a smart new feature to create albums automatically.

Hat tip PetaPixel