Despite having a working relationship integrating Adobe's media editing technologies on videos, photo hosting giant Photobucket isn't waiting around for Adobe to release Photoshop Express, and instead has partnered with FotoFlexer to serves as its de facto editor. Starting tomorrow, users will be able to edit any photo right inside Photobucket using FotoFlexer's editing tools. Edited photos can replace or be stored alongside existing shots.
In many ways this is an answer to what Flickr has done with Picnik, a move that has cross pollinated both services with new users, and given a hefty boost to Picnik's traffic and premium service subscriptions (see more on this). FotoFlexer has a "professional" service of its own, although it's completely free, unlike competitor Picnik, which charges $25 a year for access to advanced editing tools that later trickle down to free users.
I got a chance to talk to Alex Welch, CEO and co-founder of Photobucket about picking FotoFlexer over building out an in-house editing tool. Welch said that editing was the No. 1 user requested feature on the service, and that choosing an outside company's technology was the better choice given the time frame they were looking at. He said building an in-house editing tool would have simply taken too long.
In regards to the company's relationship with Adobe, going forward Welch said they're sticking with FotoFlexer as the integrated editing tool and that the upcoming Photoshop Express looks to be more of a "finishing tool" than what users were looking for. Welch said FotoFlexer provides more of what "our demographics really want."
The functionality is scheduled to go live early tomorrow morning. In the meantime we have a couple of screenshots of the new functionality after the break.