Picnik, an online photo-editing site, has altered course.
In a change announced Wednesday in the Picnik blog, the Seattle company said those with free accounts now will be able to use editing tools previously reserved for those who've paid for premium subscriptions--but they'll also see ads.
Premium subscribers won't get the ads, though, and will get a handful of other perks, including fonts from FontShop, better connections to social networks, and early access to new features. Subscriptions cost $24.95 per year.
"Our goal is to make Picnik the best photo editing experience available, regardless of whether you support us directly or our advertisers do," the company said on the blog.
Picnik isn't alone. Among others, editing powerhouse Adobe Systems is working on its online Photoshop Express product. Adobe had hoped to launch a beta in 2007, but the company is still working on the technology.
Update 6:20 p.m. PT: I misunderstood Picnik's statement that "Now all Picnik users will have full access to our huge range of edit tools, special effects, fonts, and shapes that previously were only available as premium features." Some features, including the tone curve editing control, are still available only to premium subscribers. For a full list, look at the chart on their blog. I adjusted the posting accordingly, including switching out the older image.