Google obviously seems to try winning back the heart of their photo software users. As we mentioned before, the announcement of discontinuing Picasa left loyal users displeased. But while the end of the popular image organizing software saddened especially amateur photographers, Google’s newest announcement of making the Nik Collection available for everyone is good news for the more ambitioned photographer.
The 429MB Nik Collection contains seven professional plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom or Aperture that once were costing $499.95 and later still $149. By offering the Collection for free, Google makes it possible for everyone to use this powerful photo editing tool.
Naturally, this step sparked off the debate whether this is good or bad.
Is There A Downside?
Updates: Users who have used the Nik Collection for years – and paid a fair amount for it – are worried about the future of Nik. Will it meet the fate of Picasa and not being updated anymore? On the other side, there haven’t been too many updates for the Nik Collection in the past, so this probably doesn’t matter.
Hidden Costs: Even though the official page of the Google Nik Collection “offers” a 15-day free trial, it is indeed free. Just click on the blue button on top of the page which will download version 1.2.11 for Windows or Mac. (If desired, the Nik Collection allows you to “pay” by sharing your usage statistics.)
Needed: The Nik Collection is – as stated before – a collection of plug-ins. Which means you need to own a specific software in order to use it. Besides needing a PC running newer versions of Mac OS or Microsoft Windows, users need to spend – if not already done so – money on Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Lightroom. (Apple users can use the plug-in on the already discontinued Aperture.)
Before you think you can use the theoretically free Photoshop CS2 for this: According to the system requirements, the plug-ins only work from CS4 on.
Using it as stand-alone software: Since I use the Nik Collection with CS6, I haven’t tried it. But according to others it is actually possible to use the Nik Collection as a standalone tool by dragging the images onto the .exe files.
If you are a professional user who is worried about the future of the Nik Collection, or someone who would like to try this kind of plug-ins without depending on Google or Adobe, or for whatever reason you might look for an alternative, here’s one.