Adobe Systems opened up Photoshop Express on Thursday, its long-anticipated Web-based image editor aimed at the millions of consumers that want a simple way to touch up, share, and store photos. Photoshop Express, available for free with 2 gigabytes of storage at www.photoshop.com/express, is a significant departure from Adobe’s desktop software business and a big bet that it can make money offering Web services directly to consumers. The application, which needs Flash Player 9 to run, pushes the limits of browser-based applications and will likely ratchet up the competition on the dozens of free and online photo-editing products available now (see our full review of Photoshop Express and gallery of screen shots of the application). News of an online version of Photoshop first came to light last year when Adobe’s then-CEO Bruce Chizen told CNET News.com that the product would be available within six months. Since then, Adobe has expanded the scope of the project, one reason why the product launch has taken longer than expected, according to executives. Rather than only an image editor, Photoshop Express also has ties to social networking sites like Facebook and other image-sharing sites. Also, Adobe needed to build the back-end infrastructure needed to offer the service directly to consumers, rather than partner with another photo-sharing site, as it did with its online video editor, Premiere Express. … When people hover a mouse over an image, a menu appears that lets people do tasks, such as rotating an image. The editing tools are designed for speed, with an autocorrect option, redeye removal, and a touch-up tool. Adobe has sought to make Photoshop Express intuitive enough for people to use without any training but still have features that appeal to more sophisticated photographers, said Geoff Baum, director of Adobe’s Express products. For example, the touch-up tool will automatically choose a color from a surrounding item to, say, remove a blemish on a face. Or, a person can choose where to sample a color to replace the blemish. – news.com
Fun for browsing people’s crazy photo collections too.