Adobe has started testing a free, browser-based version of Photoshop and plans to open the service to everyone to introduce more users to the application. The maneuver is seen by many as a way to lure users in with a discounted version of the office-targeted version, thereby persuading them to buy. At the same time, it stimulates the debate about the alternatives to what it offers for Windows and Linux users.
The company is in the process of testing the free version in Canada, where users can access Photoshop in a browser using a free Adobe account. Adobe refers to the service as “freemium” and plans to eventually ban certain features that will be reserved for paying subscribers only. A sufficient number of tools will be freely available to perform the Photoshop functions deemed essential by Adobe.
Adobe launched its first web version of Photoshop in October, offering a simplified version of the application that can be used for basic editing. Layers and basic editing tools made the leap, but the service fell far short of the app’s full functionality. Instead, Adobe envisioned it as a collaboration tool, a way for an artist to share an image with others and ask them to contribute, annotate and make a few small edits, and then give it back to them.
Over the next several months, Adobe made a number of updates to the service and began opening it up for uses other than collaboration as well. You used to have to share a document on the web from the desktop app, but now any Photoshop subscriber can log in and start a new document right from a browser.
Adobe’s goal is to use the web version of Photoshop to make the application more accessible and potentially attract users who want to pay for the full version later. The company has followed a similar path with a number of its mobile apps, including Fresco and Express. The web version of Photoshop is a particularly strong offering, as it opens up one of the company’s most powerful tools to Chromebooks, which are widely used in schools.
Adobe hasn’t given a timeline for rolling out the larger freemium version. In the meantime, the company continues to update Photoshop for the web with new tools, including edge refinement, curves, blending and burning tools, and the ability to convert smart objects. The web version also has mobile support for reviewing and annotating images.
The move sparks debate about alternatives to Adobe’s offering for Linux and Windows users. Photopea filters among the options suggested by Internet users. It is proprietary software for retouching and editing raster and vector images. It is only available through a browser. The software is qualified as a Photoshop clone that can be used in a browser.
Do you rely on Photoshop for your web development activities?
What alternatives do you use for your Linux editing or image editing projects? On Windows?
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