Picnik's been rained-off by Google

When people asked me to recommend a free and easy editing suite to them, I'd answer 'Picnik' just about every time. It's helped me out of the occasional pinch before now, too. But from 19 April this year, no more. The sandwiches are gone, the hamper needs to be rescued, and the blanket folded away: Picnik, which was bought out by Google in 2010, is being washed away in an April shower. (If you use Google Message Continuity, Sky Map, Needlebase, Social Graph API, or Urchin, they're all on their way out, too.)

According to the Picnik team, they are going to be working on things that are 'even awesomer' at Google. Quite a few of Picnik's capabilities are already available in the Creative Kit attached to Google+, so I'm thinking that this is going to ramped up even more. If that's the case, it's another indication of Google's attempt to corral us into using its social media platforms and not to play away anywhere else.

As for the millions (at least that's what I'm estimating) of photos that are stored in Picnik, their creators can zip them into a file and deposit them on their desktop using Picnik Takeout. It'll work right up to 19 April, and can used as many times as they want. Or of course, they can move them straight to Google+. (Knock me down with a feather, I never saw that one coming.)

For anyone who'd shelled out the $24.95 premium fee, which added a slew of filters, textures, and the ability to touch up photos, as well as a few other toys to the standard editing package, a full refund awaits. It doesn't matter when your renewal is due, you get back every cent.

And between now and D-Day, the premium features are free for everyone to use.

The Picnik blog will keep people updated on what's happening, but I've until 19 April to run for cover and find new free-to-use and won't-drive-you-entirely-crazy online photo editing software that I'm happy to recommend to people.

Team Picnik - good luck, and I hope that your next ventures are indeed even awesomer.