Google Buys Instagram Competitor Nik Software, Makers of SnapSeed

Manipulating photographs on smartphones and tablets is becoming an increasingly important proposition for mobile users. Along with the social benefits that tie into such tasks, it's the reason Facebook forked over $1 billion to acquire Instagram, a free app that essentially makes good photos look old and crappy through the use of various filters (yes, we're being facetious). That in turn may have prompted Google to scoop up Nik Software, makers of the lesser known SnapSeed app.

Technically, SnapSeed is a competitor to Instagram, much in the same way that Google+ competes with Facebook. By the numbers, Google has some catching up to do in both departments. As an aside, Google's senior VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced in a Google+ post that the search giant's social network just topped 400 million users, 100 million of which are active on a monthly basis. By comparison, Facebook is closing in on a billion users (955 million users).

Nik Software Photograph
Image Source: Nik Software

A wider disparity (in terms of ratio) exists between both photography apps. While Instagram boasts more than 100 million users, SnapSeed has a little over 9 million. It should also be mentioned that SnapSeed is a $4.99 app and is a more powerful piece of software.

"Today I’m excited to welcome Nik Software to the Google family!," Gundotra said. "We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone."

How exactly Google plans to utilize its Nik Software acquisition remains to be seen, but it's a safe bet it will somehow be tied into Google+, either directly or via Android.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.