Google, following Facebook, buys Instagram competitor

The search giant makes another move to ward off Facebook by acquiring the company behind the photo editing-and-sharing app Snapseed.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
A photo edited with Snapseed. Snapseed

Google has acquired the company behind popular iOS photo-sharing app Snapseed, the companies announced today.

Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of engineering, posted the news about acquiring Snapseed creator Nik Software to his Google+ account.The app allows users to edit photos and add filters as well as share them on Facebook, Flickr or via email -- similar to Facebook's recently acquired Instagram app.

"We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone," he wrote, adding that Google+ now has 400,000,000 users since it launched a year ago.

Google is no doubt trying to keep up with Facebook's social prowess with this purchase. Snapseed may not be on the same level as Instagram in terms of popularity, but the app's emphasis on photo editing has garnered its own following among photo enthusiasts. The iPhone app had 9 million users as of June, about a year after launching.

Launched on the iPad in June 2011 and for the iPhone in August 2011, Snapseed was named iPad app of the year in 2011 by Apple. The title of most popular iPhone app went to Instagram.

Since then, Nik Software has been working to bring Snapseed to a wider audience, launching the software for the Mac OS and for Windows earlier this year. The company is also working on an Android app, according to its Web site.

Update, 12:01 p.m. PT: Adds the number of Snapseed users.