Google snaps up online photo editing outfit

Google has continued its furious round of acquisitions by snapping up online photo editing outfit Picnik.

The company, which currently offers a free and simple suite of cloud-based pic-tweaking tools is the latest company to be bought out by the world-dominating search engine superpower.

Google is staying tight-lipped about how much it paid for the 20-strong Seattle-based company which has been trading for five years, but it's expected that the outfit's engineers will be absorbed into the Picasa team to work on Google's own online photo service.

This latest buyout means that Google is buying one company a week on average, having snapped up social search engine Aardvark and mobile e-mail service reMail in the last fortnight.

Google says that, for the immediate future at least, Picnik will continue to operate in its current format. "We're not announcing any significant changes to Picnik today," a spokesman said, "though we'll be working hard on integration and new features. As well, we'd like to continue supporting all existing Picnik partners so that users will continue to be able to add their photos from other photo sharing sites, make edits in the cloud and then save and share to all relevant networks."

A statement from Picnik says that moving in with Google "is truly the best home we could have found. Under the Google roof we’ll reach more people than ever before, impacting more lives and making more photos more awesome."

Picnik allows users to upload and footle with their own pics, cropping, retouching, resizing and applying fancy filters in real time.