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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  • Brian

    App time

    • Banned

      I think you meant “CRAP TIME”.

      Do not count on Google for the future of Capture NX. They have no interest in niche software. Google is a mass software maker and they won’t develop a software application for as restrictive a user-base as Nikon customers.

      I think this is the final nail in the coffin for Capture NX. They might be a version 3 since this has probably been in development on and off for 10 years now. But beyond that Nikon will have to find an alternate way. Hopefully they finally see the light and begin sharing with Adobe and others for official third-party support of NEF.

      • Rob-l

        I completely agree. You can say good-bye to future versions of Capture NX.

        That’s OK, though – it was crap.

        • AAron

          well photoshop would need some competition, but google can as well start from scratch then use NX2.
          In Raw developer tools we have good competition already, no need for google there, except to drive innovation further

        • Jorge

          Obviously you’ve never used Capture NX2. I’ve been using it since I got a free copy (CaptureNX) with my Nikon D300 back in 2008.
          The color fidelity is amazing. The amount of tweaking you can do is incredible. The colors and clarity far exceed anything that can be accomplished in LR (and I use lightroom to manage over 100,000 images…)

          • Banned

            Dude I think you’re talking out your ass. I’ve been using NX2 since 2008 and I reiterate: It’s JUNK. Only good think is the u-point thing and there is so much you can do when your software has like… 1 feature.

      • Jonas (from SWEDEN)

        … maybe they don´t develop Nikon NX3 or Nikon Capture.
        But develop NX3 and NX capture – working for more than Nikon Cameras?

        • Banned

          Or not as I said.

  • Troll Boy

    Oohh, does this mean Adobe Lightroom should be worried?

    • John

      I disagree. Adobe should be thrilled. Google will turn the Nik tools into Android/Google+ toys, and might just abandon the Nikon Capture NX line all together. 🙁

      • Xavier

        Nikon is already manufacturing Android toys, i think this is more cooked that we all knows, since a while.

    • Xavier

      First: WTF i just read?

      Second: Yes, they sould be absolutlely worried! But i’m so amazed! Just starting in photography with a Nikon D5100, the included software was good enough for free, but this is a big and wonderfull news! Google surely is going to bring us a refershing and powerfull soft. Even better surelly integrated to his platform, open to all.

      • St.

        How do you know that, Xavier???
        What is your experience with Google software (excluding a mobile/browser one)?

        • preston

          Here’s an example: Sketchup.

          Google acquired it when it was still pretty buggy but had potential (like Capture NX). Google fixed the bugs, created the “Sketchup Warehouse” where you could upload components for anyone else to use which became an amazing source to find free models, integrated it into Google Earth so that everybody could contribute to the modeling of cities to be viewable in Earth, etc.

          Basically, they made it MUCH MUCH better – better than any of us daily users expected them to. The only downside to this story is that Google just sold Sketchup to some company called Trimble, so I don’t expect it to really develop any further.

      • abhay

        Google is not a product company. Its main business is from advertizing. Their other businesses are there to collect user data and then sell the same to advertizers….

        Why would Google get into a photography business? They would rather sell other plugins to Adobe or some other company…or may be keep it alive for time being and then shut it down…

  • TomT

    I can haz plugins now for CNX2? Pleez?

    • ennan

      Oh please let that happen!

  • Willis

    Well crap… My sense is they did this to roll snap speed into Google+ so they could compete w/ Facebook\Instagram. I guess that makes sense, but I wish they could have just partnered to do it. I don’t think google really gives a crap about their pro-tools.

    This would be like buying BMW to break into the motorcycle market. I don’t want my important files on any web service including Google+\Picassa.

    I think this is bad news for anybody who doesn’t use their cell phone as their primary camera.

    • karl

      I’m afraid this was the reason.
      There maybe won’t be any CNX 3 version after all…

    • jorg

      on a sidenote: BMW is in the motorcycle market 😉

      • Xavier

        Yeah! and they makes great motorcycles!

      • Willis

        Indeed they are, but that’s my point. If you were a fan of their cars, you’d be a little bit concerned about this.

        • Xavier

          I think they surelly is going to integrate all, but they don’t gonna let to die the Nik soul, in fact Google is pushing G+ like a “place” for photographer, but they don’t gonna make it obligatory, but even if they do that, you can be sure other will take that free place quikly, there are millons of nikon user around the world. imho.

          • St.

            This time I agree with you.
            But I so much hate when companies like Facebook ans Google are trying to “control” the information.
            I don’t want to put any of my images (at least big ones) on any of their sites/apps.
            And the history shows that Google closed almost all their projects – like Wave for example.

      • Yes – I believe he knows this. His point is “it is like buying a car/motorcycle company just for the motorcycle division, when the car division is the bulk of the business.”

        • jorg

          alright, thanks!

      • Axel

        His point, exactly

    • John

      Now, since Google will be in charge, I feel much *worse* about the future Capture NX3 version.

      • arizonaSteve


        – Google isn’t afraid to kill something off if they think it isn’t working. In a month they could say “that didn’t work,” and let it die on the vine.

        – Google may take all the tech, and intellectual property and fold it into another project and let the current products die.

  • Chris

    This news seems very scary to me as a Nikon Capture NX user and a user of all the Nik plugins. Why do you believe this is good news for Capture NX 3? What do you know that our fears don’t?

    • Rich

      sounds like a good thing overall. Google has deeper pocket and so maybe they can invest in more programers to give us more features in Capture or ViewNX.

      • Xavier

        And meaby for free 😉

  • hendrik mintarno

    Next up:
    Google buys Nikon ?
    Imagine Nikon Coolpix + Google Android Phone

    • Neil

      PLEASE NO! For the love of all that is photography I HOPE NOT!

    • KnightPhoto

      Next up Google buys Nikon… Hmmm, you raise an interesting point there 😉

    • Jorge

      I f*ng hate Google. If that were to happen (Google buys Nikon, worms it’s way into dSLR’s somehow) I will break out my Mamiya645 Film camera and go back to shooting film. I have no problems doing that as I use film several times a year just for the heck of it…
      I HATE Google.

  • Kyle West

    A powerhouse like Google could potentially be terrific news for Nik software programs. Nik seems to have labored mightily to improve certain things, but has not been able to achieve all they really need to for their software to achieve maximum utility. All programs have improved stability and great new features on the recent versions. Capture NX2 is itself more stable than ever. But you can’t access Nik filters from NX2. The two first priorities for Google should be:
    1. Speed. The program struggles with larger files and processing can be reduced to a crawl during batch operations and even simple saving of large photo files.
    2. Compatibility. It is absurd that current versions of Color Efex (Pro 4) and Silver Efex (2.0) and Dfine (2.0) are not accessible through the filters menu in Capture NX2. Their use requires a cumbersome use of multiple editing programs for anyone using Capture NX2 as a RAW converter and primary editing software.
    I hope someone at Google agrees.

  • ShaoLynx

    …and maybe, just maybe google will finally decide to make their browser (Chrome) a color managed application. It would probably be the last of the browsers to get that functionality…

    Just a wee bit worried, here. Being a fond NIK-user…

    /* gasping*/

    • ShaoLynx

      And in case you were thinking it’s a hoax:
      …it’s real alright!

    • Are you pulling our legs? Chrome just became colour managed yesterday 🙂 Well, in the development branch, a few weeks and you’ll see your ProPhoto RGB images in their full glory in Chrome.

      • Lilien

        Chrome with the new CM still does not interpret images without embedded profile as sRGB, so it is still quite useless, at least with a wide gamut monitor – really a shame.

    • Not really, unfortunately. Internet Explorer is not color-managed, and it’s been around a lot longer than Chrome has. Notable negative for IE historically.

      • ShaoLynx

        Off the bat: let’s get one thing straight: I’m not particularly what you might call an MS fan boy (though i’m using their products since very early on). But…
        Get your facts straight: no words here, just one click and see and read it there:
        It doesn’t get any easier than that. Investigated this thing a while back now.
        And: Yes, I’d like to be able to use the best, ppRGB comes close, and my monitors do aRGB, so that’s a must.
        Q: Tried to achieve a deep blue sky lately in sRGB?

  • ravemotion

    Will there be Capture NX3? Or will I have to use Picasa instead?

    • ShaoLynx

      BTW: same goes for Picasa: not freaking color managed.
      Hope we’re not doomed to revert to using sRGB.
      Just a little anxious, here…

  • I gave up on Capture ages ago but I really liked their plugins.

  • Chris

    Hey, maybe Nik’s website was hacked and this is not real???!!!???

  • RakSiam

    I thought Nik said a long time ago that there wouldn’t be another version of CNX from them. So I’m not sure why that would be any different now.

    But Google buys lots of software companies. Typically they leave them alone for a while at least. I’m thinking of a company like ITA that created their powerful flight search that Google using for Googleflights but is also still a standalone website.

    My guess is that this is ultimately a good thing. I love Nik’s tools and HDR Efx Pro 2 is a top HDR package for example. Google’s investment will let them keep on developing things.

    • Xavier

      With a much bigger pocket! Tha’s why i’m optimistic about this.

      • Zoetmb

        I really think you’re incredibly naive. I don’t think Google gives a damn about DSLR photographers and pro-level applications. They care about apps that will drive advertising revenues and they care about owning your content. If they produce new versions of this software that only exist in the Cloud, I guarantee you they will try to own the rights to anything you produce using their software.

        This news is extremely disturbing to me. I didn’t realize that Nikon only made an investment in Nik – I thought they had owned it or owned a majority. I think this is really bad news for Nikon users. Nikon may be happy with their ROI on this deal, but it’s very short-sighted in the long run.

        I agree with those who feel that now is the time for Nikon to make their NEF files non-proprietary. They’ve got to open these up to Adobe, Apple and the other software vendors. What’s Nikon’s strategy now? Will they get back into the software business? They weren’t very good at it anyway.

  • Chris

    I’ve been looking at a lot of the news stories on this and a chilling observation is to be had: They are mostly focusing on Nik Software as the maker of Snapseep “a rival” or “a competitor” of Instagram. I can only assume that Snapseed is not the majority of Nik’s business and Snapseed is not a competitor of Instagram – at least in the world of photographers who rely on their CORE business… making great plugins.

  • JC

    Adobe should be happy now, one less competition. Google just will run Nik to the ground !!!!

  • Nikonuser

    Very interesting.

    As a side note, I’ve always been curious, what is the relationship between _Nik_on and _Nik_ ?

  • LeadWrist

    Crap, this is just crap, I can see it now, will require picasa, and will be feed google ad’s based on GPS info. Well I’m done, time for LR I guess.

  • FredB

    Anyone who thinks Google is going to spend a nanosecond worrying about any product other than SnapSpeed is delusional. Google isn’t and never will be in the business of developing, selling, and supporting any products that aren’t mass-market and that don’t somehow tie back into helping them generate ad impressions.

    The best any pro tools user could hope for is that they’ll sell off everything other than Snapspeed. This would be a great opportunity for Nikon to come in and gain control over the software that their customers use, but … not sure I’d hold my breath on that either.

    Worst case scenario is that Google just lets everything other than Snapspeed die a slow, painful death due to neglect. I fear that that may also be the most likely scenario, however …

    • I suspect you are correct. Google will likely dump the pro products, sell them to another software vendor (Adobe? OnOne? Apple?), license the technology (u-point) or do a spin off (founders/staff).

      Considering all the complaints about Capture NX, I won’t miss it a bit. I do use the NIK plug-ins (Silver EFX Pro) and would hate to see that stuff go away. I hope Adobe buys the rights to U-Point and builds it into Photoshop and Lightroom.

      • hexx

        they’ll kill those products. like everything they’ve ever acquired

      • ShaoLynx

        NIK and U-Point are awesome. OK, maybe not so much CaptureNX-something (have a license but don’t use it in favor of LR), but I do use the NIK-plug-in suite, especially: CEP4 (ColorEfexPro4), Viveza2, DFine2, HDREfexPro2, and ocasionally: SilverEfexPro2.
        I would really hate it if they were to go to waste!
        Google: that’s evil! (would be)
        On the other hand: if G+ were to sell the pro stuff of to Adobe AND they would integrate all of the plug-ins into, say, LR (just some more modules, I reckon), that would not just save the technology, it would be freakin awesome.

        OK, where can I pre-order LR5 G+ already?

    • St.

      I agree with you…. unfortunately… And I just invested buying Nik’s full collection + the new HDR Eff Pro 2….
      I should not expect more updates….

  • Patto

    There is a long history of software giants buying smaller companies to obtain a particular technology (not necessarily the whole software, but just some part they lack) or to eliminate competition. Google bought, and maintained, Sketchup because it fits well with Google Earth. In this case, it sounds like they bought Nik to acquire Snapseed but it could be for the development of addons for Google+. In either case, I’m not sure they’ll be interested in professional plugin development.

    On a personal note, I don’t like Google’s liberal slant on everything from search results to their presentation of news. Even if they maintain Nik’s software or even improve upon it, I really don’t want to give them any of my money…

    • Biff

      It’s fascinating what areas tend to have a liberal slant.

      Such as art & a free press.

      While xenophobia, the Taliban, religious fundamentalism (in Islam & Christianity) tend to have a conservative slant.

  • Beso

    As the owner of Capture NX2, Lightroom 4.1, and Photoshop CS6 I can only believe that Google’s acquisition of NIK can do no harm. Basically, Capture NX2 was a waste of money. Maybe Google can do something with it and future generations to provide the type of quality digital image processing software that has its competitors eating Capture NX2 for lunch.

    • Bill B

      What on earth gives you the idea that Google cares about pro software? The Nik stuff as we know it will be gone soon.. Many people use CNX and find it does an excellent job.

      Users of Nik stuff are screwed by this news.

  • Kyle West

    Capture NX2 is not a waste of money because it is the only software that applies my in camera settings to a RAW and then lets me tinker with that. It saves me a lot of time and I like the way my D300 and D800 process photos. In perfect world would love it if Lightroom had an option of applying my in-camera settings to the RAWs during development. Then I would likely abandon Capture NX2. I do also like the u-point technology as an extremely easy way to apply edits.

    • Chris

      Here, here! Between Capture NX 2 and the Nik Plugins, I do about 90% of my photo editing with Nik technology. I just can’t seen a path into the future that doesn’t muck this up big time.

      I’m glad I recently bought Lightroom 4 so I could learn it as well, because I think it will become the only path in the future worth taking. (And, Nik’s silence and lack of calming our fears doesn’t make feel anything but worse – I hope they’re too busy cashing their buyout checks.)

      • Jorge

        Chris: Why are you using my “Here! Here!!” Mmmmm? I’ve only been using that probably longer than you’ve been alive…
        LOL. Enjoy.

    • Fabian

      +1. I’m a big fan of Capture NX. The U-point technology is awesome, and I prefer Nikon’s editing controls and rendering to LR4. Now if only Adobe would license U-point and integrate it with LR and PS…. I never bothered to buy any of the Nik plugins since they don’t fully integrate with Adobe’s software.

  • hexx

    have a baaaad feeling that these products will disappear

  • I AM FX

    Does anybody use Nik Software for their post processing? I tried it but wasn’t impressed with it…..

    • Chris

      You may be alone in that feeling.

    • Baba Ganoush

      I use Viveza 2 as a LR4 plug-in in editing perhaps 5-10% of my photos. Sometimes it does a good job of accomplishing what I need, other times it doesn’t, although I can’t say any other software package would succeed where Viveza fails. On balance, it remains a worthwhile purchase for me.

      Given the history of so many large companies buying out small tech firms only to suck them dry of innovation, it probably would have been better had Nik been bought by a private equity firm.

    • Ric

      You betcha.

      Capture NX with Color Efex 3.0
      Silver Efex
      HDR Efex

    • brn

      “Does anybody use Nik Software for their post processing?”

      Only when I care about the quality of the output.

    • BUZZ

      I do. I use it for all my post processing.
      I started out with PS Elements and hated using layers.
      The U-point technology is so intuitive and easy to use, it saves hours of processing time. I think it is a very flexible platform for processing.
      It will be a shame to see it die an unwarranted death.
      I hope someone picks up the technology. Photoshop needs some competition.

  • Neil

    Hate this news. It probably means the great apps/filters will slowly disappear and what’s left will start delivering ads. Why else would Google do this? Maybe I need to get onOne 7 afterall? I was going to standardize with Nik. I’m halting all Nik upgrades until I see where this is going.

    Sky isn’t falling but Google doesn’t inspire confidence for maintaining great products support for those of us on Macs.

  • I guess the question now is, when’s the fire sale on NIK software bundles? Hmm…

    I suspect Google will “sell off” what they don’t want and then “Google up” the others.

  • Chris

    Since Nik Software hadn’t shared the news on their facebook page, I shared a link to their own blog post about the sale and they removed it from their facebook page.

  • Chris

    I just posted this to the Nik facebook page – everyone should post something similar:

    “Please tell your loyal fans what the sale to Google means. Other than on a Google+ entry about the sale, the comments everywhere else are from fear to disgust. We need to know what this means for the future of the Nik Software plugins.”

    • ShaoLynx

      I Didn’t see your comment, so copied it there, too.

      • ShaoLynx

        No use: these posts get deleted at once… No trace left.

        • Neil

          No, the default view of their group is to display only their posts. If you change your settings, they are all there.

  • Dweeb

    NX is so far gone now I doubt anything would regain users now. Maybe a $0.98 Apple AP store download.

  • Well they can’t hurt nikon any, because they can’t get any worse!

  • Sam the Tsosie

    I feel that Google will let the pro software phase out and somehow integrate picasa into the nik world. I do use CNX2 to convert my NEFs and for light editing. I used to use LR, but once I started using CNX2, the difference is quite noticeable. I like cnx2, i think it’s the best program you can use for your NEFs. I was hoping for an update, like CNX3, but with this current news, i doubt it will happen.

  • goldaccess

    “I feel much better about the future Capture NX3 version.”

    Dear Admin,

    I fear quite the opposite. Why should an elephant like Google care about a niche-niche product like Capture NX? Same goes for the professional filters. Might end up in having Snapseed as the only remaining application.

    • But Nikon owns 5% of Nik Software I think, so maybe they can make a deal.

  • Initially I thought this was fantastic announcement and that Google was planning to really expand its photo processing capabilities. But with all the posts here pointing out some unhappy possibilities I’m now hoping Google’s acquisition is not a signal that all those great Nik plugins for Photoshop/Lightroom will disappear. That would be quite a loss, I have almost all of Nik’s plugins and they’re very useful.

    Of course, if you can use them on Google for free instead of paying premium prices for them, still be able to keep them on your computer, and keep up support for TIFs and PSDs then that might not be such terrible news.

    But if they move away from computers and go entirely to the web I’d be pretty disappointed and not too happy about that.

  • gastwa

    Google has a history (and a lot recently) of abandoning applications and services they either developed in-house or acquired. There is no viable strategy for Google to own Nik except for their phone/online/apps competition with other social media companies. That will mean the death of the Nik plug-ins for real photo editing. I’ve standardized my workflow with Aperture and Nik. If these go away, it will be a major blow.

    What about tech support and user community? These will disappear under the Google regime. I have called Nik on occasion and always spoken directly to a knowledgeable real-live person. I use their tutorials and training sessions. My experience with Google customer support and their total lack of managing software products (like the Android OS) spells disaster for a high-end customer focused product offering like the Nik plug-ins.

  • According to Thom Hogan ( development of Capture NX2 had long since passed back to Nikon, and his view is that (as a result) it was dead in the water anyway. Shame.

    • St.

      I think
      1) Nikon should acquire everything from Nik’s software from Google, besides Snapseed, hire some developers and experts to create a powerful package – Capture NX + the plugins.
      2) Adobe doing the same, but adding the plugins to LR5

  • Mike

    This may not be as good as it seems!

    Google is not a product software company. They could put this on their cloud and allow access to basic features for free – and charging a subscription for premium use. They probably got this idea after Adobe went on the subscription model.

    But the scary thought is that this could always remain their 4th priority, since they may not bring in the billions they are accustomed to from their other products (search & advertising) – and could end up licensing it to XYZ to recover their costs.

    As an added benefit, they get to track your every photograph & applied changes, store it forever, and reserve the right to use it in any way they want !!


  • BT

    Google was a great search engine when it started. It made them rich and awash in money. Using these profits they have busted into many different areas while their search engine has deteriorated. Some of these new ventures have been great others have floundered. Android has been great and I hope it puts Apple in its place. Other ventures such as, Google maps is in chaos with the user inputs from Map Maker inputs. Map Maker, Local and the Pano groups are run by a bunch of unorganized whiz kids without lick of discipline. Google+ is a ghost town but I really hope they faceplant FB. So it is very hard to determine what to make of their acquisition of Nik.

  • Alan

    Bye, Nik. Your engineers have a future, but your technology is going to be scrapped for parts.

    Google doesn’t care about anything that sells in less than “millions”, and for imaging this means they want the “toy camera” filter pack and a dozen image processing engineers. Everything else is chaff.

  • Fiatlux

    Maybe they’ll open-source Capture NX (wishful thinking)?

  • David

    Well maybe now Nikon will get off their ass and develop an awesome capture/viewing software and support their pros like Canon. I have used Nikon for years and have always believed they were behind the curve in tethered software options. Seems as though they have finally decide to be much more aggressive with their 2 latest DSLR offerings…maybe this is a sign they will produce something much better than what is current. Nikon has deep pockets and could do it if they were smart…

  • Ain’t gonna happen. Nikon took back Capture from Nik a long time ago. It will be forever lost in the dark recesses of the office that gave us “My Picturetown”

  • ben

    As someone who relies on the Nik Plug-In Suite I am very concerned that Google only cares about Snapseed and will kill the rest. My hope was always that Nik would sell their U Point tech to Apple so that they could incorporate it directly into future versions of Aperture, but since Google and Apple are competitors that will probably never happen either 🙁

  • Zaphod

    Well. Im not so sure that it will be good for nikon users. Google spy on their users. But they are also linux friendly. A android app will of course happen, and maybe a version for linux desktop too. And the software is really not good. I was expecting it to be a lot better. I got it with my D800E.

  • dp

    Time to give the vaporware award 2012 to CNX3 before it’s finally going to die.

  • David G

    Google bought SAGETV – Killed it outright. Software and Hardware. Done.

    I won’t hold my breath for NX3.

  • John

    Goodbye Nik Software, as we once knew it…

  • David G

    Time article on what happens when Google purchases a company…….

    Not sure if I can post a link – but I am very concerned with the support of my Nik and NX2 software.

  • znsel

    One can only hope they open-source whatever code they are not interested in, and let the community pick up its development.

  • Merv

    Will this impact View NX? I normally just use this

  • ken cockwell

    fuck teh shite!!!! damn, why GOOGLE in hell?! nik software got the *BEST* plugins for
    photoshop on earth, period! Damn it….it’ll be crap soon! =(

  • Mark J.

    Im really scared as to what will happen with Silver Efex and Color Efex. If google turns Nik into instagram i got a bad feeling that any of the professional photographer targeted software is really going to suffer.

  • Ralph McFilthy

    Oh shieeee..t!! The last thing I want is some piece of insidious software with various links to twitter and facebook, assorted privacy violations and an avalanche of unwanted advertising. The last thing I want is to have someone accidentally press the wrong button and irreversibly post a customer’s portfolio on faceache or pootube. Just have to wait and see what happens but the news does not instill any level of confidence.

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