After Google bought Nik Software, makers of the then iOS-only app Snapseed, today they have released it for Android and for free! Snapseed is a very easy to use photo app to edit and enhance your shots.
Editing photos with Snapseed is very easy and the results are good. But let me compare it with the most popular photo sharing app right now: Instagram.
They both apply filters to photos. On Instagram you select the desired filter and see the preview instantly. You can’t select more than one filter on a photo. On Snapseed, not only you can apply several filters to a photo, but you can also tweak the settings of each filter.
You have complete control over each effect you apply and that opens the posiblities to produce very interesting things. Snapseed not only applies filters to a photo, it can also straighten it, sharpen it and apply color correction on it.
On Instagram all photos need to be square, and thus, you have to crop your images if you’re using the standard camera app on your device. Unless you use the Instagram camera app that takes only squared pictures, you will need to leave out something on your image when you crop it. Snapseed works with the full image, no matter the size. This includes panoramic and even the new photo sphere in Android 4.2.
The community is what is lacking in Snapseed, since it’s only a photo editing application, not a social network. But that is why Google has integrated it with Google+ and the photography community there is amazing. On Instagram you have a nice huge community but most of the pictures are not high quality material and since you can’t tweak the filters, you get the same feeling across multiple images and users. But even then, I love browsing the photos from my Twitter contacts that have accounts there, and double tapping to love their posts and explore new users to follow from what my peers have “loved” too.
With Snapseed you can stamp your own unique style to your shots and share them with the huge Google+ photography community. Over there, there’s more than just mobile photos of mirror self shots or coffee and food pictures. It’s a community with great professional and amateur photographers and good quality images. Also, it’s hard to browse and explore the Instagram social network from the browser. There’s been some improvements lately but still, it was not designed to be a web experience but a mobile one. Google+ is a very nice web and mobile experience and lets you post more than just your mobile photos.
One of my biggest rants about using Instagram is the quality of the images it produces. Since it was designed specifically for mobile devices and mobile sharing, the files are very compressed and with a very low quality. Here’s a sample of the same image before and after Instagram. You can see the difference in quality from miles away. For me, Instagram destroys your images and the only place they look good is on a mobile device (try printing your pictures!). Snapseed doesn’t compress the final image that much, so the result is a lot more enjoyable in any media.
I only use Instagram for it’s sharing capabilities. I can multi-post from one app to several social networks with one click. That part I do like. For the rest, I think that Snapseed covers most of my photo editing needs and it’s very good at that. Snapseed will give you all your photo editing needs on a full size image without completely destroying your image quality. They made it easy to share on Google+, naturally, but you can also send it to any other app with the standard “Share” button functionality, but it won’t be one click.
Snapseed for Android vs Instagram by Gabriel Saldaña, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Mexico License.