Google Engineers Jump from Picnik to New PicMonkey

PicMonkeyWhen Google announced that it was closing numerous services earlier this year, the axing of the photo editing tool Picnik drew the most criticism from users.

So two of Picnik’s earliest engineers, Justin Huff and Brian Terry, decided to quit Google and resuscitate Picnik as PicMonkey, a free photo editing tool with similar design aesthetics and functionality.

Picnik was acquired by Google in March 2010. Huff told GeekWire that Picnik was “doing great,” so only minor changes will be made to improve PicMonkey’s performance.

Picnik’s demise is part of Google’s push to get users onto more of its properties — namely Google+. Since the announcement, Picnik has been hit with more than 1,800 comments, many wondering whether Google+ will offer the same functionality, and some that are downright angry.

“This is not good. I have been trying to use Google+ but (it) is very clumsy, unwieldy, and just plain not usable,” said a user named Yogi. “I think that this is just another effort by Google to make its users use a product that is not very good. I love Picnick, I hate Google+. I am considering closing my Google+ account.”

For its part, Google is recommending PicMonkey as one of three services Picnik users can turn to, along with Google+ and Aviary. Huff said he and Terry were upfront with Google about their plans, so apparently there’s no hard feelings.

“When a company like Google shuts down a product, they are telling the world that they don’t believe that there is a market for that,” said Huff. “And it just happens that some of us think different, and that’s why we are here.”