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Adobe Photoshop honcho takes over Google photo editing

Google has hired John Nack, who's led Photoshop and mobile teams at Adobe, in a new sign that the search company is serious about digital photography, too.

John Nack, formerly principal product manager at Adobe and now a Google executive
John Nack, formerly principal product manager at Adobe and now a Google executive
John Nack

Google has hired John Nack, an Adobe Systems executive who for years helped run Photoshop, to help manage its photo editing tools.

Nack, formerly principal product manager for Photoshop at Adobe, has in recent years been more involved with Adobe's push to mobile devices. Adobe's business is chiefly with creative professionals, but Google aims for a much broader, less expert audience.

Nack announced his move to Google on his blog on Monday after 14 years at Adobe.

"Why make this move? Merlin Mann once asked me, 'What do you want ten times more of?' I knew the answer: Impact," Nack said. "I'm so proud of the impact I've had at Adobe. From Smart Objects to Photoshop's first-ever public beta to countless little tweaks over the years...I'm proud of that legacy. Now, though, I'll get a chance to work on some new projects."

Google has worked to build a presence in the digital photo world for years. Early acquisitions of Picasa and Panoramio offered modestly successful services and software. But the more serious push came later -- in 2011, it found a photography foothold on its then-new Google+ social network, and in 2012, Google acquired Nik Software for photo editing on mobile devices and personal computers.

Nik's software has continued in its earlier forms, including Snapseed software for consumers and its enthusiast-oriented Efex tools for processing photos. Google has spread the software further, though, for example with an online version of Nik's photo editing tools on Google+ and the new Photos app that's shipping with Android 4.4 KitKat.