Google acquires Nik Software

This just in from TechCrunch: Google acquired Nik Software.

Nik Software is the company behind the Nikon Capture NX2 software and other popular photo editing products.

FYI: back in 2006, Nikon made a “capital investment” in Nik Software.

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  • Dan

    Ohh shit, I better start learning Lightroom. If NX3 were imminent, they wouldn’t sell. This is bad news for dedicated users for sure.

    As for why NIK? Well, Google is smart and knows that mobile, app and web technology integration is where it’s at. Smart phones are getting more and more capable from a photographic standpoint and even DSLRs are being coupled with the web in more ways than ever. With this acquisition, they acquire amazingly intuitive control-point technology, black and white conversion technology, sharpening technology, film emulator technology, creative filter technology – all things that will be easy to repurpose using Nik software base code as the engine. Say goodbye to NX2 as we know it. I give them maybe 2 years of support before it becomes phased out.

    Not happy.

    • Randy Stephens

      I take that news as very bad news for the future advances of NIK software. I use NIK everyday.

      • Ron

        You’re absolutely right, Randy. This is the kiss of death for NIK.

        • Richard

          I hope you are wrong, but fear you are correct.

          We can only hope that Google allows the Nik team to continue to develop their fine software and borrow a few features for their web based mobile stuff.

          • Victor Hassleblood

            I fear the worst as well …

            but if it means I get to see and manage other RAWS than NEF in View NX as well that wouldn’t be bad at all.

        • Petia

          This is the signal I needed to switch to Lightroom 4 for good. Too bad, I loved the way NX2 renders colors and tones, but I’m sure I’ll eventually find the right settings in Lightroom.

    • Pat Mann

      Thom Hogan indicates that Nikon owns and manages the NXx product and has for some time, not Nik Software. So it’s Nikon, not Google, that will determine what happens to NX2. Does that make you feel more secure about it? It doesn’t reassure me. Nikon has not demonstrated to me that it’s a capable software company.

    • Jorge

      Well bye-bye Nik (as we know it).
      Google will F*ck them up. I use the NIK suite. It’s great software — in addition to my LR and even Capture NX2 (which I love even with all its quirks)

      Anyway, if you are a software developer, an entire new Niche just opened up to take over where NIK is leaving off cauz Goggle isn’t going to continue down this road but take the low road and move towards their phone/web apps.

      Well NIK it was amazing while it lasted. Goodbye.

  • Red Fez

    What will this mean for Snapseed (which is likely why Google went for Nik) and other software such as Color eFX and Silver eFX?

  • After thinking about it more I think Google is likely to try to enhance Picasa with a wider variety of effects. That’s what occurred to me after reading the many thoughtful comments here but now I think it may be more likely than I assumed at first.

    My ideal of course, like for most of us, would be if Google kept Nik plugins intact and allowed them to develop new generations in the future like they always did. But that may be a pipe dream…… I guess we’ll see…..

    • brn

      I hope it’s all about Picasa. If they can enhance Picasa with the power of NX2, that’s a killer combination. Just don’t make it cloud based. Pretty please!

  • Oooh, Nik Color Efex was one of my favorite image processing program. Hope there’s a future for it.

  • Disiderio

    Heres hoping this development gives Nikon a kick in their pants and true third party support is offered. Proprietary files will kill archiving. All photographers should persuade camera companies to adopt a true standard for the sake of Our memories.

  • MB

    This most likely mean the end of Capture NX because it is not profitable enough to keep and it is nowhere near Google agenda (mobile apps like Snapseed).

  • Probably the end of CNX2. Nikon should develop a good free raw converter, or give up some of their proprietary information so that others can do it.

    • Neil

      That’s what View NX is for.

      • OK, you are probably right. For me, ACR and Photoshop gets the job done. There is a lot of good software out there. We just have to use it right.

  • Fabian

    Apparently Capture NX passed back to Nikon a while ago. For those who think Nikon cannot develop software, remember that with version 2.3 NX got a huge performance increase! I still have hopes for NX3. I just hope they can keep licensing the U-point technology.

  • Abhay

    As per the tech blogs, Google bought Nik Software for its mobile app software, spanseed

    I dont think Google will have any interest in Nik’s other offerings…

    If true, this is not good for dedicated Nik photography softwares….

    It makes sense as Nokia is also using the Android platform for their new compact cameras…

  • Chris

    If someone from Nik doesn’t come out soon and put a good face on this, then all that Google bought was Snapseed as photographers will shy away from buying Nik products just with this news.

  • Jadewatcher

    The biggest trouble i have is with NEF processing: crappy as it may be, and incomplete too, Capture NX2 is still the only software that lets you edit the Nikon Raw file “As is”, with color fidelity to the original file in camera, all settings included. I am not interested in ACR or LR “approximation”, i want exactly the file that is in my camera, and color fidelity is not an option for me and all the ones who work on a color calibrated environment/monitor.

    I fear the worst, something similar to what happened to all of us who were using Nikon Scan before they decided to drop support, forcing us to buy Silverfast at a mere 400€.

    This is spitting in the face of loyal customers, simply put.

    • Disderio

      I think this is an overstatement.

      The number of professional photographers using Nikon gear and NOT using the proprietary software is staggering. I do not believe I have met one pro who uses capture NX2.

      LR’s interpretation and handling of NEF’s has improved dramatically over time. Their color profiles are very accurate bases to start with. Additionally, adobe allows the creation of color profiles for those jobs that require ultra critical handling of color.

      Capture nx2 is dead and should be killed off. Instead of aski8ng for another capture, let’s ask Nikon and other manufacturers to drop the proprietary file game and at least allow for DNG’s.

      • Jadewatcher

        I can agree with you in regard of dropping proprietary NEF tech on Nikon’s part, but i can’t still find any software, even the latest iteration of LR, that gives the same color accuracy i can find with NX2.

        I am not saying NX2 is a great software, as you can see from my previous comment i find it inadequate for almost anything, but still, it’s the only software that gives me the results i want in terms of color, with any picture control i use in camera, from Standard to Vivid and more.

        Try putting “Vivid +1” in your camera and process it in LR: you won’t get the colors you find on NX2, and not because NX2 is special, but due to the fact that it is properly displayed. I have had all sorts of headaches using ACR and LR trying to “match” the colors i got with NX2. So, if something better than NX2 comes along and it displays NEF correctly, i’ll be all for it.

        But if dropping NX2 means no more NEFs properly visualized by a program, i’ll just have to stick with what i get now until something identical comes along. My work depends on consistent color reproduction since i’m into color landscape photography both with digital and analog gear.
        I can’t have clipped reds or different tones of blue in the sky just because Nikon won’t step down with the nonsense and in the meanwhile, the only software that got it right lies dead on the floor.

        • Freehawk

          Spot on Jadewatcher! I am a full-time pro and I use Nik software every day, especially Capture NX2 because it is the best option BY FAR for processing NEF files. I find that people who criticize NX2 have either never used it or don’t know how, it is incredible and the new version is very fast.

          • Jorge

            Here! Here! Freehawk!! I LOVE NX2. Ever since I got the free copy with my Nikon D300 back in 2008. The color reproduction is amazing so for those of you who complain about it, go dust off your dSLR box, root around, and pull the CD out and install it. Is the software not very user friendly? Some may say yes, after using it for four years I know my way around it. It is a pain in the butt to use when all my images are in LR, but the processing and the end results are fabulous.

        • Disidero

          This may be a stupid question, as it appears you are up to speed with calibration, however have you tried the adobe camera profiles on the bottom right hand corner of LR’s develop module?

          The latest batch in LR4 is very good and to the untrained eye are almost identical to nikon’s processing. I never use adobe’s profile due to colour and brightness variations.

          Adobe have copped a lot of heat from LR customers due to colour variations and they have done their best to resolve these issues.

          • Unknown

            I (mostly) use Neutral in camera with no ADL.
            If what you get in LR with Neutral profile is the same you must be blind…

            • Disiderio

              No, but my clients have never really minded and to my eye they are relatively close. If you want to colour match to the nth degree there is a colour swatch test that will keep you busy and is probably a better use of your time. 🙂

              The reality is, there is very little justification to defend capture nx2. I am very vocally against it, and I find it a little offensive that Nikon still market and sell this product and try and derive any profit from it.

            • Chris

              Disiderio, you make not like Capture NX 2, but it your comments are of ignorance and sound of hate.

    • Freehawk


    • Richard

      Want really mangled RAW files? Just use Adobe DNG converter if your camera’s RAW file format is not supported by whatever version of LR or PS you are using.

  • Curtis

    Rememver folks …. Google is NOT about photography first.

  • Spy Black

    This may have something to do with the recent release of an Android Nikon camera. We may see Android further integrated into the Nikon line. Hmmm…

  • .Me

    Bad news. Google is definitely a company that can’t be trusted – witness the the theft of Apple IP when Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s Board and also at the head of Google. Then there was the Google mapping fiasco with Google siphoning off private network information everywhere it went, but kept denying it until it was caught out. As an Apple Mac/Nikon user I’m not at all happy about this as Google just can’t be trusted to look after it’s customer’s interests. I simply will not use any Google products – period.

    • Arkasai

      Your comment sounds a bit alarmist and borderline paranoid, not to mention your examples have little relevance to this news. Relax, no one’s out to get you.

      • .Me

        Paranoid? Both things I mentioned are well known and documented. What I am talking about here is that Google has a track record of sleazy business conduct and a disregard for it’s customers. Surely this is of great relevance now that it has taken control of Nik.

  • B

    totally dislike! i know nik softwares are not that most famous photog-editing tools. But i will say they are one of the best from the top 3! their u-point editing was the most innovated. sure already stolen by aXoXe.
    i think i will be missing their updates if they faded next year…. 🙁
    why apple don’t buy it & integrate to aperture?….

    • ThereIsNotOnlyApple

      and why not Adobe instead?
      So the s/w would have been for both PC and Mac, not just Macs.

  • Trust

    I am very upset too as I use the whole NIK package. They had great s/w, great ideas, great support and good prices, now… who knows what we end up with.

    Without saying that I won’t be surprised if Google tracks my work, it’s typical of them.

    Good luck everyone, I might trash all my NIK studio.

  • FussyBob

    Nowhere in the last year or so does it state that NIK was working on CNX3, but I do remember over a year ago where it was stated that Nikon wasn’t supporting NIK anymore.

    It could be that Nikon bought out CNX from NIK and has their own programers working on the next CNX3.

    Maybe CNX3 with be announced next week…..

    • cuius

      Surely Nik developed CNX for Nikon – they’ve never owned it

  • A while ago, people used to complain about the WinTel monopoly on computing. But most creatives are very happy with the Apple/Adobe monopoly for commercial graphic computing.

    I was in a large electronics store the other day, and I asked the Google guy if his super cheap netbook ran Photoshop. Once he said no, I turned on my heals, thanked him, and went about my business.

    After running the Google + Photo conference, they probably figured out pretty quickly that the Nik tools are often the photo insider’s “secret sauce.” Could this be Google’s attempt at getting that market to switch from Apple devices, to the new Google branded mobile devices?

    • .Me

      “Apple/Adobe monopoly” – how does that work again? How can two separate companies be a monopoly? Besides, Apple is no friend of Adobe, just look at how Apple continues to screw Adobe Flash – rightly to as Flash is a POS.

      • Richard
      • PLEASE. The flash issue is a lover’s squabble. Without the Mac, Adobe would still be Aldus, and probably behind Corel Draw on the PC. Withut Adobe, the mac would have just been a “cute, but overpriced” personal computer.

        Perhaps “Photoshop/Mac” monopoly on image processing sounds better, but it’s basically the same idea.

        Anyway, Google now has it’s own hardware to drive the Nik software, so the “Mac-as-the-best-graphics-computer” idea, might die soon. Only time will tell

  • whisky

    according to Thom Hogan, Nikon took back responsibility for Capture NX2 updates and maintanence some time ago. which doesn’t bode well for it’s evolution.

    furthermore as Nikon was part owner of NIK, it’s assumed they sold their shares to Google.

  • Chris

    Google claims to put Photography first… I’m not buying it. Check out the Google+ announcement and scan through the comments… they are almost all signs of praise and congratulations. Either there are few serious photographers hanging out there, our they are deleting all the comments of fear from them like we see here and on Nik’s site, etc.

  • Allen W.

    Damn. Sooner or later this means our oix and editing keystrokes will be auto-posted on the web as some kind of social networking invade-our-privacy scam feature .

  • In Switzerland, CNX2 is already on sale. Online retailers offer it for about CHF 145.– which ist 25% less than last weeks price

  • peterw

    Hopefully Nikon will find another company, or organises the talent in an other way which nescesarry to keep Capture nx running smoothely as it does now, and refine a bit more.

    Opening their profile sources would be even better… but I fear that is not going to happen.

  • Ethan

    I hate Google. It’s too geek

  • gsum

    I’m a bit confused by this article. As I understand it, Nikon Capture NX2 belongs to Nikon and will not therefore be acquired by Google under this deal. This could result in no further development by NIK of NX2 which would be a real shame as NX2 is a truly great piece of software. Whilst the user interface is a bit clunky and could be improved, many of the tools are excellent, particularly DLighting, noise reduction and the pen selection tool.
    As for the NIK filters, the cloud is the perfect place for them. These filters have seen little development since the original set that were released about 10 years ago, other than separating them into themes. The themed versions of NIK are far too expensive.

    • Chris

      gsum, it would appear from your comments that you haven’t actually used any Nik plugins since the ones you used 10 years ago. The Nik plugins are by far the most advanced plugins available and the U-point technology is revolution in image processing that should not be in the hands of Google.

      • gsum

        I’ve used Color Efex Pro 4 but couldn’t see much that wasn’t in the original complete set. This is bit disappointing especially given that many of the original filters can now only be obtained by buying all the themed sets.

        U-point is in NX2 and is an excellent tool. It is particularly good for removing flare, very fiddly in Photo$hop. I was assuming that U-point would not be included in the cloud version, but maybe that’s incorrect.

  • John

    Google are all about adverts. That’s how they make money. It’s laughable the way people think Google are a cool brand and blindly sign up to their services and Android phones. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Google process their customers like no other. People are the product.

    This is very bad news for photography.

  • M35G35

    I am also afraid that Google will destroy Nik. Of course that is my gut instinct and no real proof what Google will do to Nik. However, most of the time large corporations destroy the smaller company, competition I guess! Fortunately, I have other plugins and software that I have invested in, so goodbye Nik.

  • miguelito

    I’m actually concerned for the future of Silver Efex Pro and Snapseed.

  • This is absolutely the kiss of death for Nik Software. Google NEVER EVER EVER buys a company without basically disbanding them or discontinuing the products they used to make.

    I’m fully invested in Nik Software plugins, and I love them. I don’t know where I’ll turn now. Fortunately, the current plugins (I predict we will never see an updated version of their plugins ever again) should last me a couple of years – but without continued development, they will fall behind other less desirable products.

    Good bye Nik, you’ll be missed.

  • Well, i read your article. I also agree with you, i hope it should be helpful and encourage to another software company.

  • puclot

    i think that Nikon shall have the responsibility of mainitaing the software specially NX2 as thats the only softwrae which can be used to chnage the camera settings. we spend so much money on Nikon and i feel that they are betraying their users by taking away such a niche feature by let someone kill nx2.
    i am feeling so betrayed that i am afraid that i will disown Nikon and move to Canon

  • neversink

    Nikon should offer NX2 for free with camera purchases, because it is not worth the price (albeit the relatively cheap price) one has to pay for it, as it is not a well-conceived program ad it is slow as molasses. Third party software is just as good…. Actually NOT… Third party software is TONS better.

  • Taylor Brooks

    I own all of the NIK filters for Adobe as well as some of the device software they make for small devices so in the same boat as most here find themselves. I have watched so many good companies disappear in the last three decades and dread losing NIK because they make a superior product, and have superb customer service.

    Google is a good company, and may realize that this company and its software are an integral part of making them successful in their core business. I also own all of the Alien Skin, OnOne and Imagenonics products because I have seen this happen before, and will never be a captive.

    All of the above companies make specific modules that are highly competitive with NIK, and depending on the subject matter sometimes even better. Alien Skin’s new Exposure 4 and Blowup 3 are superior as is OnOne’s Photo Tools 2.6. in CS6. Imagenomics’s noise reduction is superior, and their portrait is great for doing quick group touchups too in CS6. So at least we have viable alternatives if Google does not recognize the importance of NIK to photographers, and website builders.

    I will continue to support NIK until Google, or NIK, demonstrates that they will not continue, or do not want to be a partner.

  • Capture NX2 and the plugin Color Efex are my favorite softwares for editing image. They are wonderful! I would be very sad if nikon desist from developing capture.

  • Chris

    If NIK Software had just sold Snapseed to Google, it would have been a loss as an iPhoneographer, but not a huge hit to me and others a photographers. But, as a professional photographer, the to be assumed complete loss of the single best photo editing suite on the market is horrible.

    I cannot imagine a world where Google allows the core products of NIK – its Efex Pro suite plugins – to continue forward in an independent and innovative way. And, the complete silence from NIK other than a brief announcement on their website – not even an email to its loyal customers!!! – tells me and many that this is essentially a sell out from our perspective. We, its loyal customers and users, have been left behind.

  • Chris

    Ready to get depressed? Read Trey Ratcliff’s comments and watch this Google+ hangout video (really poor quality – is this the future tech behind NIK?) of him interviewing some people from Google+ about the NIK purchase.

    First off, now we know why the NIK people are silence… it was revealed that the purchase price was $1,000,000,001… that is one billion and one dollars.

    Second. Trey writes about the power of cloud computing in image post-processing. Two concerns: one is obviously what the license from Google will claim in regards to your photos. But, also, Are you really going to work on a 300 MB file in the cloud? Really? Ironically, he contradicts himself in the video.

    in the first few minutes of video (while the screen flashes with bad images and Trey drops in out a couple of times), one of the Google employees used the word “landscapey” in regards to his won photography.

    The Google guys (none of which are likely of a power level in Google to actually be able to ensure this), claimed that the client side apps that photographers love will be business as usual. I’m not buying that for a second… especially in light of the new billionaires’ silence.

    Also, from his text and comments in the video, Ratcliff has totally bought into the Google ecosystem.

    I wish we could all demand a refund from the new NIK billionaires because they sold its loyal customers out and we deserve a piece of that pie.

  • edw

    hope nx by google will be better than the actual one, and they will continu to dev silver efex & sharpener..

  • jim

    I’m a bit confused by this post and by some of the comments. Google is buying Nik to develop Android phone apps for photography, and possibly extenstions to Picassa. But they have no interest in Nikon products or standalone desktop applications. And Nikon – not Nik – owns the rights to CNX. So this acquistion almost certainly means the end of the road for CNX – there will be no CNX3.

  • Tim

    NX to me is *the* editor that does everything I want as a Nikon owner. Yes people moan it costs a bit, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than Photoshop!. Lightroom may be similar priced or cheaper, but it doesn’t pick the full up in-camera settings from a NEF and I’m fairly sure it won’t pick up any of the edits in my thousands of existing NEF files. NX also has u-point which is amazingly simple and effective.

    Originally NX was attractive for storing all the edits in the NEF while retaining the original raw in the NEF file also. No stupid sidecar files. Okay DNG does this too though a lot of people seem to have issues with it. It’s also an additional step in the workflow to import NEF and convert to DNG then load into Lightroom or whatever.

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