Picnik, one of my personal favorites for editing photos online launched a new array of advanced editing tools a few hours ago. You can read about some of them from our earlier post, or the official announcement over at the company's blog. The biggest news is that many of the ones that previously required a paid, premium membership are now available to free users.
I got a chance to talk to Picnik's CEO Jonathan Sposato about the update, as well as the past and future of the company. The big topic was the looming release of Adobe's Photoshop Express, something that doesn't seem to have Sposato and company too worried. "Adobe has a business to protect. Picnik has a business to build," Sposato said. He also noted that early looks of the product (see coverage) show that there might not be integration with social services people are already using--something Sposato believes critical to Picnik's adoption, and that has served the company well.
As for competing services encroaching on Picnik's space, including FotoFlexer, which unveiled its no-fee Pro service last month, Sposato says his company is confident about the current road map and feature release schedule, which is set to trickle down to free users (just like what happened today). "We've got more engineers now, and that means we're able to turn out new features faster than before."
Looking back, Picnik became the official editor of photos on Flickr in December and has since experienced tremendous growth. The company wouldn't share its official numbers with us, but noted that Flickr has provided double digit percentages of site growth in addition to the highest ratio of users that give the free service a try and then upgrade to the premium membership. Sposato also noted that Flickr users are almost always uploading their shots back to the service, often replacing the original shot with the edited one--a process that is now reversible with the new history feature similar to the one for files seen over at Box.net.