A powerful photo-editing program that once cost $500 (around £350) is now free for anyone to use. The Nik Collection, which is owned by Google, is a package of seven desktop plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop. It’s one of the best programs of any kind to be made free in recent years.
The plug-ins include tools for improving a photo's colour (see screenshot), for editing photos in black and white, and for applying effects to specific parts of an image.
Google bought Nik in 2012, when the software was priced at $500, and was used mainly by professionals. Google then cut the price to $150 (around £105), where it had remained until March this year.
The main reason Google bought the company was not to own these plug-ins, but to obtain Snapseed, a photo editing app for Android and iOS that Nik launched in June 2011. Six months later, Apple named Snapseed its iPad app of the year. in a statement (for more information click here), Google said it was making Nik free so it could focus instead on developing Snapseed and Google Photos, its online photo-storage service. This was also given by Google as a reason for closing Picasa. Google later confirmed to the website Quartz that there will be no new versions of the Nik plug-ins, but they will be updated to remain compatible with Photoshop and Windows. Anyone who has already bought Nik in 2016 will get their money back. To get the program go to www.google.com/nikcollection and click the top- right 'Download now’ button.