Adobe Photoshop Express is Not the Web-Based Photoshop

It’s been a long time since we first heard Adobe would release an online version of Photoshop. It launched word processor acquisition Buzzword first, but hasn’t been as buzzworthy (pun intended) as major the players, Zoho Writer and Google Docs. How does Photoshop Express fare?

Photoshop Express is more of a photo-sharing site with several image editing features than it is an online port of the image editing heavyweight. It’s a far cry from Splashup (which I drooled over when it was still named Fauxto) and the extensive design suite that is Aviary. Many consider this a disappointment, because why would Adobe let itself get beaten at its own game?

Why release Photoshop Express like this? Maybe Adobe’s not looking to web-ify as many Photoshop features as possible, but instead hook the average user with the retouching tools and of course the social sharing angle, just like Picnik. But could Photoshop Express become both feature-packed and social in the future? Why not?

Photoshop Express, Splashup, Aviary, Picnik, and Buzzword all use Flash. It’s amazing to see how far Macromedia’s former star player has come—from creating the new standard in online video to possibly rendering PDF documents obsolete. If Google Docs or Zoho Writer ran on Flash, would they be as popular? Could the Web have embraced rich internet applications as easily if we depended on Sun (Java) or Microsoft (Silverlight) to deliver the job?

8 replies

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  3. I have to agree with Ron… Flash is nice for animations, but is such a horrible application development platform, it really ruins the overall experience of Photoshop Express. Not being able to navigate through the site with normal means (browser back button, arrow keys, page down, mouse scroll wheel, etc.) makes for a very clumsy UI experience, not to mention that everything loads sooo slowly.

    I’ve fleshed out my initial impression here, but I must say, I just don’t see how this offers anything over Picasa, iPhoto or Flickr. Can anyone tell me what I’m missing here?

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  4. Don’t get me wrong, I hate websites that are purely built on Flash just for the sake of wowing the audience. But Splashup, Aviary, and Scribd/iPaper are achievements in themselves. Photoshop Express was a step in that direction: to bring desktop apps/features to the web, though not exactly like Photoshop. Isn’t that what AJAX and Web 2.0 are about? Of course it’s slow; this is just the beginning, at the very least, it’s a proof of concept.

    I don’t see any other platform coming close to what Flash has achieved in the past few years. If something replaces Flash, then fine. Until then, I’d like to see how the Web can be the venue for things we would otherwise be doing on the desktop.

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  5. Half-hearted attempts at innovation by developers I usually like make me sad!

    …Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

    (Oh and the blue-purple gradient you have here is so kyooooot, Ia-cha’!)

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  6. Try Splashup, it’ll make you feel giddy as a web-based Photoshop app should. ;) And Aviary too, when it comes out. But I’m giving Adobe the benefit of the doubt here; let’s wait and see if they can make a Photoshop killer online…oops. I don’t think they want to do that.

    Blue purple pink!

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