In a not quite so unexpected move, Google has acquired, Picnik, a website which provides an online image editor built in Flash.
Picnik is an online image editor which allows you to open image files from your Picasa, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, and a host of other image hosting services. You can also upload images from your computer, or grab an image from your webcam. It offers powerful image editing features, for cropping, resizing, and touching up images via an easy to use interface.The website makes extensive use of Flash in order to create a highly rich environment for editing images.
The acquisition makes sense in the light of Google's plans for Chrome OS. With the release of Google Chrome OS devices later this year, we can expect Google to expand its online ventures to cover nearly all tasks one might need to perform on a computer. Google is building its repository of online applications and saw an image editor missing.
Over time Picnik will hopefully become a more integrated part Google's services, perhaps as the default editor of images for Picasa Web Albums, or in an even more integrated fashion. By the time the first Chrome OS device launches we can expect Google to be have an alternate for nearly every popular interenet application and service out there.
For fans of Picnik this means that can expect the web app to evolve significantly as it is sure to get more pampering in the hands of Google. People with existing accounts can continue using the service without worry as it will remain operational unlike Etherpad.