Picasa, Aperture, Google Photos, Apple Photos

Since early 2000’s and until the beginning of 2016, Picasa was a very popular program for organizing photos made with digital cameras. Since Google acquired the program in 2004 and made it freeware, it got bundled with a lot of cameras that flooded the market during those years.  However, in the beginning of 2016, Google decided to stop the development and support of Picasa.

Alternatives are many: for instance both Magix and Corel have great software for organizing photos and doing some initial editing on them. Google themselves suggests that people use their Goggle Photos instead. At the same time, Google also made their Nik Collection free, by that effectively discontinuing the product, using arguments like “we want to focus on mobile”.

Seen in a larger perspective, the closure of a “program” development with a suggestion to just use a (simpler) cloud based solution, could be a trend to watch for in the future. Apple did something similar with Aperture, even though their suggested replacement, also called Photos, is still residing on the user’s own computer – but just like Google Photos, Apple Photos has much less functionality than its predecessor. Also Adobe is trying to change the way they develop and sell software into a subscription based service with some cloud elements.

As quite a lot of computer use today has been replaced with mobile phone use, the future may bring more of this. Apps for the mobiles are usually less feature-rich than their PC or Mac based siblings, and storage space is not as plentiful, so people tend to prefer using some kind of online storage. This cocktail leads to less processing on the device, again stimulating a continued movement towards simplifications and reductions in features. With a continued focus on feature-rich desktop applications, the software companies would need to fight over a decreasing number of potential customers, and this in a marked with a very large selection of products and with dropping prices.

So it looks like Google and Apple are simply pulling out of what they see as a fading market – a losers game.