Google buys cloud-based photo editing site

Google’s shopping spree continues: it’s now acquired Picnik, an online photo-editing site.

The Picnik app allows users to import photos from photo management and sharing services such as Google’s Picasa Web Albums, Flickr or Facebook and then crop, touch up and add effects to photo directly from their browser.

The company offers a free service with a basic editing toolkit, as well as a premium version for around $2 per month which comes without ads and includes more elaborate image manipulation tools.

“We’re not announcing any significant changes to Picnik today, though we’ll be working hard on integration and new features,” said Brian Axe, Google Product Management Director.

“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.”

Piknik’s 20-odd employees get to remain in Seattle, although they’ll be moving across town to Google’s offices.

“What does this mean for Picnik? It means we can think BIG,” says PicNik on its blog.  “Google processes petabytes of data every day, and with their worldwide infrastructure and world-class team, it is truly the best home we could have found.”

In recent months, Google has bought a number of other smallish companies, including ReMail, AdMob, Teracent and reCaptcha.