Picnik now Working with Picasa Web Albums

This hits two of my favorite things; Flex applications and in-browser RIAs. Picnik, the Seattle-based startup that was purchased by Google a little while ago built one of the coolest photo editing applications on the web and were very early users of Flex. I always loved the customization work they did to Flex and stopped by their offices a few times to talk with the founders and meet the team. I was really happy when they were bought by Google (they also moved closer to the Adobe offices in Seattle).

So it’s really cool to see the announcement today that they’re integrating with Picasa to allow Picasa users to edit their photos using Picnik. Combine that with the blog post by YouTube about how they’re using Flash and I think there is a lot of momentum for Flash at the worlds biggest web company.

And hopefully that means a lot more great browser-based RIAs. Google loves the browser and is pushing it further with things like ChromeOS. I still think the browser is the best way to deliver applications and content. Picnik is a great example that you can take Flash and build something very powerful with a great user experience but with all of the freedom and flexibility of the browser. That’s clearly the model Google likes and they’re moving forward on that front with whatever technology works best for the problem.

It’s going to be a good future.

And for those who like history, John Cook pulled up the original email that started Picnik where they discuss Flash and compare it to other technologies. It’s a cool trip down memory lane.

Picnik and Flash

John Cook managed to snag the original email that started Picnik and there was one quote about what technology they were going to use that struck a cord:

Our timing is right. We’re at the intersection of demand (mass use of online photos) and capability (Flash 8 supports the first level of functionality we need). Flash 8.5/9 will take us to the next level. If Canvas becomes widespread and is hardware accelerated we can move to that. If WPF becomes widespread we can move to that and boost our functionality/performance even further.

Part of it is the initial investment, but one of the things I think is telling is that the Picnik guys never switched away from Flash. They had the basic start in Flash Player 8, built it on (I believe) Flash Player 9 which gave them the performance improvements they wanted, and they even moved to Flash Player 10 pretty quickly to get better file upload support as well as make heavy use of Pixel Bender.

Flash may be a lot of things, but it moves forward and tries to provide functionality its customers want. Picnik is a great real-world example of that at work.