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Picnik photo editing tool to shut down, but the party is not over

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Picnik to shut down

After acquiring online photo editor, Picnik.com, Google is shutting down the company as a separate entity but Picnik staff will remain and all premium users will be refunded their annual premium fee as features of the product are said to be rolled into Google+ as a native photo editor.

“As we head into 2012, we’ve been sticking to some old resolutions — the need to focus on building amazing products that millions of people love to use every day,” Google said in a statement. “That means taking a hard look at products that replicate other features, haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience.”

Picnik wrote to customers, “Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things. Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012.”

Free users will benefit the most as this spring, they will get all premium features for free and they will simply be able to use the service within their Google+ account, however, Picnik users without Google+ will have to seek alternatives or sign up for Google’s social network.

Premium users that choose to leave can pull all of their photos from their Picnik account to their desktop via zip file by using the “Picnik Takeout” feature offered on the web app’s landing page, but the company hints that they will soon offer the ability to send a copy of all of their Picnik photos to a private album in Google+.

We have long written about the virtues of Picnik for the non-Photoshop savvy and have been using it here every day for many, many years, and it appears we may continue to extol the awesomeness that is Picnik, only we won’t refer to it as Picnik anymore. There is no word as to how Google will rebrand it, but this is part of Google’s continuing effort to conglomerate all of their services into each other and make them aesthetically consistent rather than dozens of separate companies that do not integrate into each other.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Diane Allen

    January 22, 2012 at 3:51 am

    WILL WE BE ABLE TO USE THIS OR A SIMILAR PRODUCT FOR EDITING PHOTOS ON GOOGLE AFTER PICNIK CLOSES? THIS IS SUCH AN AWESOME PRODUCT AND EASY TO USE.I WOULD LOVE TO STAY WITH A GOOGLE PRODUCT.
    THANKS

  2. George

    January 22, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Picnik's main utility for me is the ability to edit my flickr uploads within flickr. I doubt I'll be following it into Google+ as I am more interested in photography than social networking. I hope flickr will find a replacement service. Otherwise there is Google's own Picasa (which I hope will stay independent of google+) and faststone.

  3. Tinu

    January 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I hope Google doesn't screw this up – they've made a couple of glaring missteps recently in abandoning or retooling certain things. Picnik was fine the way it was. It works and it has features I use frequently – at one point I used it every day.

    The early changes Google made to Picasa to integrate Picnik were great, but starting in the fall, they began to have fewer features that were less effective, forcing me to leave the G+ version of Picasa, and edit photos in Picnik, download them, then upload them into G+ or Picasa. Very annoying.

    • Lani Rosales

      January 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      I have faith – their rebranding efforts have been wonderful so far, and if they simply port the service over to G+ for free, it will rock just like their new meme generator, don't you think? Wishful thinking?

  4. Ruthmarie

    January 23, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Probably wishful thinking. I don't like Google+ and have no intention of being forced to use it. If they keep cramming it down my throat – I will delete my Google+ account. Taking a good thing, destroying it only to manipulate it so that people are forced to use additional services is a game that I am sick of. The suits ruin everything given the opportunity.

  5. MaryAnn

    January 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I am so upset over this , all of the editing tools you needed were in one place and were super easy to use!! I have had premium for years and do not believe that google will be able to handle the account as well as picnik has and I enjoyed having all of my edited photos in one location . Stupid decision, many people will be annoyed by this change, NOT FOR THE BETTER!!

  6. Angela

    January 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

    This is the first article I've read where it states that ALL features of Picnik will be rolled into Google+. Even Picnik themselves say SOME of their features will be integrated into Google's Photo Editor. Which scares me because I normally work in the advanced mode rather than the basic effects they offer. Either the author of this article didn't do their homework or they know more than Picnik knows. I'm guessing they didn't do their homework.

    Also, I side with those who don't enjoy being forced into something especially if I don't even know if want it. Seems like a very devious thing to do.

    Picnik is something I use constantly for my photography business. Picnik makes basic editing so much easier than Photoshop and all the other Picnik-like sites don't offer the tools I need that Picnik has. I am extremely unhappy about having to give it up. It's really taking a toll on me and what it means to my business. I wish Google would just leave the site as it is, change the name if you have to, but leave it alone! Not a happy camper.

    • veronica

      February 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Amen to that I am also really upset my daughter is handicapped and she love to use picnik its so easy for her.

  7. Linda Knowles

    January 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I purchased Picnik on 1-15-12 explain what will happen 6to my acct

  8. Gail Robinson

    January 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Photoshop Elements has a learning curve, but it's not going anywhere, because Photoshop is used by professionals. I'm glad I took the time to learn it.

  9. Jean Silvester

    January 27, 2012 at 7:34 am

    So very very sorry it's closing down.At this moment in time I can't seem
    to find any software as super or as easy to use.From Jean Silvester.

  10. Ruthmarie

    February 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I'm finding that I am going to be forced into using several platforms. None work as smoothly and seamlessly as Picnik. Also some of those premium fonts were part of my "signature" This is a really big problem.

  11. Shelley Tholen

    March 24, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I am so upset that you are shutting down picnik!!! People like me use picnik all of the time. Some of us don’t want to be forced to learn and use photoshop CS6 or lightroom4. Why can’t you get rid of picasa instead? I don’t need another social media site. I want a program like picnik where you can edit photo’s in a short time. I wish we could stop this from happening! Where are we supposed to go to now?

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Tech News

Want to save snippets of a Zoom meeting? Listener makes it possible!

(TECHNOLOGY) Listener lets you screenshot or bookmark important sections of live meetings, as well as curate a playlist of snippets, to share or playback.

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Listener for Zoom tool landing page on laptop.

We live in a very computer-mediated world where the bulk of communication is done virtually. Many of us spend a great deal of time – whether for work or pleasure – on video calls connecting with people that we’re unable to meet with in person.

Zoom became the unofficial mascot for the pandemic and has shown no signs of going anywhere. So naturally, people are looking for ways to put this to even more of an advantage – like by creating messaging extensions to utilize in lieu of live meetings.

Now the folks behind Listener are getting in on the action by creating Listener for Zoom.

The new tool allows users to bookmark important moments of Zoom calls in real-time and easily turn long recordings into bite-sized video clips.

As founder Nishith Shah puts it, “Zoom meetings just got more productive!”

Listener allows users to do a myriad of things, including live bookmarking to create short video clips; ability to transcribe your entire meeting; edit video clips by using transcripts instead of struggling with video editing tools; share video highlights with your team; create playlists from video highlights across different Zoom meetings to tell powerful stories; use projects to organize your meetings and playlists.

Founders say that Listener is designed for pretty much anyone who uses Zoom. In early testing, the founders found that it is especially helpful for product managers and UX researchers who do customer interviews.

They also reported that early-stage founders have been using Listener to add powerful customer videos to their investor pitch decks. It is also helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who search transcripts across hundreds of hiring interviews to remember who said what and to pass on important clips to other people in the interview process.

The tool is also beneficial for teams and hiring, as customer success and sales teams create a knowledge base with Listener to train and onboard new employees. They also use it to pass on customer feedback to the product teams.

This could also be great for clipping video elements that are appropriate for social media use.

On January 11, 2022, Listener was awarded #3 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.

Listener for Zoom is free while in Beta. The tool works only with licensed (paid) Zoom accounts.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Tech News

How Apple is trying to combat the AirTag backlash (hint – its not working)

(TECHNOLOGY) Apple’s weak-kneed attempts at fixing their AirTags issues aren’t working. They can be placed on anything (or anyone), and it is detrimental.

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Apple airtag being held between two fingers.

A few weeks ago, I wrote up an article on how the Apple AirTag can be used to stalk and track people, and now it’s happening. Unfortunately, not all stalkers have the same glamour as Joe from the hit series You.

Engadget reported that model, Brooks Nader, says someone used an AirTag to track her. Per her account, she didn’t receive the notification until she was walking home, alone, at night. If that’s not scary enough, now imagine she was an android user. The only way for her to know someone was tracking her would be if she had installed the Tracker Detect app.

As stated by TechCrunch, “Apple has made its own post-launch efforts to tighten up how AirTags that don’t belong to a certain user can be detected, but these notifications have proven buggy and have often waited far too long to alert users. Add in the fact that Apple has seemed to treat Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership in order to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence looks a bit more severe.”

The app itself, which was released on December 11, 2021, is getting a lot of negative feedback. One issue is that to see if you’re being tracked you have to manually scan to find the AirTag. How often and when you do that is up to the user. Whereas with the Apple Find My app, it alerts you automatically without the user having to scan anything. It’s not perfect, however. It’s buggy and can take hours to notify the user that an AirTag is tracking them. However, it’s still better than the android app.

Another dreadful scenario that hasn’t been factored in this equation is children. Not all kids have devices, much less Apple devices, nor should they necessarily, but if someone was going to track them, they would be easy targets.

Apple, for the love of all that’s decent, pull AirTags and reconsider how they function. Examine the ways an AirTag could be used without using the mesh network of all iPhone users so that it doesn’t continue to emit a location or, I don’t know, give up. If it doesn’t mean anything to you to risk other’s lives with this product then consider the possible dangerous consequences as a reflection on Apple.

Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity.

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