capsule review

Picnik (on Facebook)

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Picnik (on Facebook)

    PCWorld Rating

    This excellent online image editor also is available as a Facebook app that lets you edit your photos without leaving the social networking site.

I am one of the millions (and millions) of folks who use Facebook to share photos. I'm also one of the many folks who wish the social network had better photo editing tools. But I've given up on waiting for Mark Zuckerberg and co. to introduce them, now that I've found Picnik. Google's free online image editor is available as a Facebook app that delivers the basic image editing tools that Facebook should have already.

Like its Web-based counterpart, Picnik's Facebook app offers a host of photo editing and sharing tools. You can rotate, crop, resize, and sharpen photos, or adjust the exposure and colors, among other tools. These basic editing features are missing from Facebook's own photo tools, so they're a nice addition.

You also can upload photos from your computer or another Web site, and the Picnik Facebook app gives you automatic access to all of your photos that you've already uploaded to the social networking site. In addition, it lets you edit your friends' photos, too--but only, it seems, if their privacy settings allow.(Note: We attempted to confirm this information, but Google did not respond to repeated requests to do so.) When editing friends' photos, this results as your own, new photo: you can't alter your friends' images and replace their originals. Once your photos are edited, you can post them to your Facebook profile, and can add them to an existing album or create a new one.

You also can use Picnik to create slideshows and photo collages, but you cannot share the results directly on your Facebook profile. You can send them via e-mail, or you can post the provided link to your profile and share them that way. This limited sharing is unfortunate, as the ability to post a complete slideshow directly to your Facebook profile would make Picnik a must-have app.

But the limited sharing capabilities are a minor complaint when compared to the way Picnik pushes its Premium version on you. You don't need a Picnik account at all in order to use the Facebook app, but signing up for one lets you save your photos to Picnik's site. It doesn't, however, free you from all of the annoying prompts you get that suggest a Premium account ($25 per year) would be a worthwhile investment. If I were a frequent Picnik user, upgrading to Premium could be worth the cost, but being nagged about it makes me less interested in doing so. Every time you view your photo library, you're reminded that you can only upload five photos at a time--unless you pay for a Premium account, which allows 100 uploads at once. The first time I created a slideshow, Picnik automatically added a style to it--one that was available as part of a Premium account only, as if to tease me with what I wasn't getting. Enough, already.

Picnik's sharing features are a bit limited, and the push for its Premium service is overkill. But this free Facebook apps offers some very handy and easy-to-use photo editing tools that make the annoyances worth it.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can use this Web-based software without registration in your Flash-enabled browser.

--Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This excellent online image editor also is available as a Facebook app that lets you edit your photos without leaving the social networking site.

    Pros

    • Easy photo editing tools; free

    Cons

    • Pushes Premium version; Limited sharing features
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