images2.jpg*UPDATE* I got this email from an Adobe employee today. Sorry – but all those looking for drama here will have to move on…”We’ve heard your concerns about the terms of service for Photoshop Express beta.  We reviewed the terms in context of your comments - and we agree that it currently implies things we would never do with the content.  Therefore, our legal team is making it a priority to post revised terms that are more appropriate for Photoshop Express users.  We will alert you once we have posted new terms.  Thank you for your feedback on Photoshop Express beta and we appreciate your input.” ORIGINAL POST Photoshop Express is an online photo editing, sorting and sharing solution targeted at consumers or the casual, novice photographer.There’s no software to buy or download. It’s currently a free, Web-based solution, offering a complete photo experience including upload, storage edit sharing. In an online press conference held last week, Adobe executives said they were aiming for a complete, “end to end experience.”Adobe made this move based on research that shows more and more people spend their time online. They want to appeal to the 24/7 online user, and at the same time, attract new users not familiar with or part of the Adobe family.In a press preview last week, I got to watch the program in action. While it’s still in BETA, it appears to have all the functionality a novice would require.The product is impressive enough in one sense, i.e., it’s built in Flex and Flash and the user experience is pretty amazing, assuming the user has DSL or Cable access.Adobe’s business model is built around a platform based – hosted services approach, featuring future additional products – subscription service and free service. No doubt some users will be concerned about putting their catalogs online and into a free service, worrying that at some point, Adobe will drop the hammer and ask for money. According to the executives speaking at the press conference, that won’t happen. While fee for service models will be introduced, they will be for additional features and functionality. The basic feature set has been promised free.One of the strengths of this model is that it is completely cross platform. Whether you’re on a PC, MAC, or LINUX machine, running any major browser, you can access your photos.During the sneak peak, we saw the launch version. Photoshop Express opens to a home page with several views of the images including the ability to rate and caption all photos. My initial impression was that it looks a little like LightRoom.Everything is very easy to use, and even beginners will be able to figure out the workflow easily. Things like plain english tool tips and well-organized contextual menus help.There are a total of 17 editing tools that Photoshop Express users can utilize to improve their photos:Crop & RotateAuto Correct with variationsExposureRed Eye RemovalTouchupSaturationWhite BalanceHighlightFill LightSharpenSoft FocusPop ColorHueB&WTintSketchDistortAll changes to images in Photoshop Express are non-destrutive and non linear. Once the images have been edited, they can be shared either one at a time or as a group of image.To organize and share images you can create albums and then drag and drop files wherever you want them to go. When it comes time to share the pictures, you can build sldeshows with prebuilt layouts. Galleries can be restricted or public.The application really shines when it comes to accessing your existing online galleries. You can actually log into other photo sharing and social networking sites (like Facebook) and see your photo content via Photoshop Express. There are only a few such alliances ready to go at launch but, Adobe said that compatibility with Flickr would be added soon and presumably, other such sites not currently on the list. What’s really interesting about this is that you can even edit images stored on social networks and other sharing sites, right from Photoshop Express.As far as the service itself goes – Adobe is touting that as a web-based application, it’s always upgraded automatically – no updates to install. Two Gigs of free storage are provided with each account and while no pricing has been set, Adobe said more would be available for purchase.There are 10 meg file size image limits – no raw upload available at launch, only JPEG, owing to the consumer focus of the application.This is a US English only launch but eventually, Adobe says the product will be globalized.There’s no doubt that this is exciting news. I don’t necessarily see myself using this service because it’s not aimed at people in my situation. But what excites me is that this is possibly just the beginning. We may see more and more from Adobe along these lines, including more professional features like RAW-support, larger file sizes, more storage, and greater flexibility.Since Photoshop Express is free to everyone, play around with it and let us know what you think.

Join the conversation! 23 Comments

  1. This is what you couldn’t talk about! Cool.

  2. Very interesting! It’s amazing how “this Internet thing” is changing everything that we know… I suspect this will be the norm a couple of yeas from now, with only us hardcore photogs actually using an app resident on our computers. All the others, including some serious photogs, will be using an online storage and manipulation tool, probably linked straight to shopping cart!

  3. Ok, this is nothing short of amazing. I know of 4 people for whom this is absolutely perfect. This is a great beta. Sure there are features that I’d like to see but this is amazing. I can’t believe that all that is possible in Flash.

    I toyed around with it on my work computer which does not have impressive specs and it’s fluid and fast.

    I really hope they expand their gallery options or partner with companies. I know they have some partnerships but I’m not a member of any of those communities so I couldn’t text drive.

    This is such a great solution for sharing and editing for a certain demographic. Nice job Adobe.

  4. Adobe’s servers must be overwhelmed with registrations. It’s been 15 minutes and I still haven’t received confirmation e-mail to complete my registration.

  5. This is a real game changer. As someone who still likes to use locally installed apps, this will change my photography workflow. I can see using this for my photos shared on the web. In last week’s poll, I voted that I shoot only RAW. I just changed my settings to RAW + JPEG. I’m looking forward to using Photoshop Express. Thanks for the breaking news.

  6. I found that when I need to edit my photographs, usually taken for business purposes, that the editing capabilities of my free viewer program works for me. I think it will do pretty much all the things that the online programs will do. FastStone Image Viewer 3.5. I would be interested to see what TWIP thinks of it.

  7. I really like the embeddable content that they are making available. 2GB of space doesn’t come close to meeting my needs for displaying photos but will be a great addition to SmugMug, Flickr, etc…

  8. Adobe is not going to drop the hammer and ask for money.

    Instead, what they are doing is grabbing rights to any “public” images to do whatever they want with in the future forever. If you share an image, you are granting them rights to it.

    See section 8 of the terms of use.


    8. Use of Your Content.

    a. Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

    b. “Publicly accessible” areas of the Services are those areas of the Adobe network of properties that are intended by Adobe to be available to the general public. However, publicly accessible areas of the Services do not include Services intended for private communication or areas off the Adobe network of properties such as portions of World Wide Web sites that are accessible via hypertext or other links but are not hosted or served by Adobe.

  9. Boy, that last comment is scary. That clause granting Adobe a full license to my photos will keep me from posting any content to Photoshop Express right there. I was leaning in that direction anyway, as the fact that the whole site is built entirely with Flash makes it very clumsy to navigate and use (no browser back button, no arrow keys, no mouse scroll wheel, etc.), not to mention a little too slow. I really don’t see how this is an improvement over Picasa or iPhoto or Flickr. Am I missing something here?

  10. Maybe the need to grab the rights to the photos is why the site is only available to the US. Me, I guess I’ll stick with Flickr.

  11. Another photographer commented on the shutdown of the Adobe Stock Photo service which happened a few weeks ago and said this rights grab looks like a built-in replacement for it.

    I’m not bashing Adobe as a company. I use their excellent products every day. I just am not a fan of these “perpetual, irrevocable” rights grabs.

  12. I think the licensing language warrants a close look and we are talking to Adobe about it. That said, I think there’s certainly some hysteria involved. Comments like “Another photographer commented on the shutdown of the Adobe Stock Photo service which happened a few weeks ago and said this rights grab looks like a built-in replacement for it.” are pure speculation, based on nothing but conjecture. I’m not attacking of defending Adobe. That’s not my job – but knowing the Internet the way I do, I’d urge people to relax a bit – wait a day or two – let’s spend some time looking at this – and then make judgments.

  13. Companies need to stop this rights-grabbing nonsense. It’s ridiculous and it needs to stop. Unfortunately, people either don’t read the terms or don’t care, which only encourages companies to keep doing it.

  14. Jamie that’s true – when a company tries to “grab” rights – it’s a bad thing. In this case, Adobe is not seeking to transfer ownership – just license the images for their own use. My guess is that the lawyer in charge just got a little carried away. I’ll bet money this changes before next weekend.

  15. I just don’t see the point. It’s iPhoto super-lite. Except that it is slower and harder to use.

    I suppose this might mean something to the Windows folks out there, but what possible use is there for this which isn’t better satisfied by using the app which came with your Mac? Honestly, the slideshows are ho-hum, the organization capabilities are minimal … and, worst of all, I really don’t want the primary library of my photos to be on Adobe’s servers, noxious TOS or not. I know how to back up. I don’t trust that Adobe does.

  16. If you want to try online photoediting, without the image hosting dimension, Picnik is worth a look ( This is embedded in Flickr (you can store your pictures there) and has some useful tools. There are file size limitations (2800 pixels) and other constraints, but I don’t see anything in the Adobe announcement (apart from the branding of course) that offers more.

  17. Scott, it’s good to see you chiming in here as the voice of reason, but I’m not sure how you can possibly read “perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from” as just Adobe wanting to license the images for their own use (which I frankly wouldn’t agree to anyway). The phrases “Sublicensable” and “derive revenue or other renumeration” are absolutely unconscionable. Adobe wants a license to sell my photos? Um, no thanks.

    Call it hysteria if you like, but I don’t think we’re making mountains out of molehills here.

  18. @Scott: no doubt, I think NatGeo had a similar stipulation with one of their contests. They changed it after a bunch of people complained. I know it’s just a license and not a transfer, but if they find an image they really like, they can pay a fair market price for it.

  19. Re: Jamie: “if they find an image they really like, they can pay a fair market price for it.”

    What he said! We paid what they considered a fair price for their software, I see no reason why they should be any different…

  20. I’ve been keeping up with some of the Flex/Flash technologies for a little while, so technically speaking I wasn’t too surprised with how Adobe approached it and the ease of use. However, even being familiar with the potentials of Flex, I am still wowed at how polished this appears to be. I will definitely be reviewing and writing about this, from a consumers standpoint, soon.

  21. It looks like the fine-print only refers to images that are made public, however, it is enough to keep me from displaying my photos on their site. I checked it out and do think that it’s nice, and liked how they mirrored some of the style from Lightroom, but really have no use for it.

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