Nack Hiring Strong Signal of Google's Desire to Grab Market Share in Digital Photography
February 07, 2014
By Christopher Mohr
, TMCnet Contributing Writer
It was announced on Tuesday that John Nack, senior product manager for Photoshop, was leaving Adobe to take a similar position with Google (News - Alert). Nack spent 14 years at Adobe, with eight of those years spent on the Photoshop team where he developed features like SmartObjects, Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw.
In his soon-to-be-terminated blog hosted by Adobe, Nack was silent on the matter of exactly what he would be doing at Google. Recent developments indicate that the Mountain View, CA (News - Alert)-based company is eager to get involved in the digital photography business.
Recently Google acquired Nik Software, which develops Snapspeed, a mobile photo editing app available on Android (News - Alert) and Apple-based mobile devices. Snapspeed provides several powerful photo-editing capabilities including selective adjust, straightening, black and white, cropping and aging effects.
An old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words, but to companies seeking to grab market share in web business, it’s worth a lot more than that. From Yahoo’s acquisition of Flickr in 2005 to Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012, online companies have coveted online photography for quite some time.
Given the success that Facebook is having with Instagram, Google could not afford to go on much longer without a response. The company’s hiring of John Nack combined with the buyout of Nik Software demonstrates how serious it is about digital photography.
Nack leaving Adobe (News - Alert) to go to Google is similar to what it would be like in the NBA if Kobe Bryant, at the height of his career, left the Lakers to play for the Clippers. Nack’s knowledge about Photoshop and his success as product manager should have a big impact on Google’s success.
Yahoo missed the boat several times after acquiring Flickr, opening the door for Facebook to be the social media giant that it is today. Google seeks to be everywhere, bearing some similarity to Microsoft (News - Alert) in the 1990s. Just as Microsoft sought to dominate the PC software market, Google seeks to be the same thing to the web and is involved in so many things that it’s hard to avoid them.
But the web is harder for one company to corner. PC software is a relatively smaller ecosystem and Microsoft was able to extend its control over the operating system market to applications. As big as Google is, the competition is stronger in the 2010s and dominating the search engine market doesn’t mean dominating the entire market. In digital photography, Google is playing catchup with Facebook. While it has made very key moves to be successful, it’s anyone’s guess what the outcome will be.