AdobephotoshopAdobe recently announced their plans to release an online version of Photoshop, their popular image editing application.  It will be a “light version” made using Flex, and is expected in the next six months.

Because it is a “light” version, I’m assuming that it will be no different that some of the online photo editors already available.  People like Photoshop because of the range of editing options that it offers.  A lighter version certainly wouldn’t be able to handle all of the complex things that people turn to Photoshop to do.

Instead of aiming this product towards the people who already use the application, it’s aimed towards the home/casual user who wants to touch up a picture before uploading it to a social network, or sending it off via email to friends and family.

The online version will be free, and Adobe plans on supporting it with ads to make money.  This sends up a red flag to photo-editing startups. With everything going online nowadays, this is definitely a smart move for Adobe. While the daily, professional users will stick to the stand alone option, it will be opened to new users.

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen says that while it’s a lighter, lower-end product, they still expect it to be of better quality than other free alternatives (Picasa?). They’re hoping that the brand they’ve already established will help them out. Chizen says:

“If we offered a host-based version of Photoshop that’s Photoshop-branded (and is) potentially better than Picasa, you’d probably go the Photoshop route because of your belief in the Photoshop brand and the quality associated with the brand,”

There’s certainly issues to think about with any online photo editing service like dealing with the download/upload speeds for high resolution photos.  Also, would you be able to keep your photos private? Access to the Internet is not always there, so there’d be no editing on the road.

With this announcement, I’m sure many companies and startups are feeling the pressure. Microsoft is probably one of them. Everybody around them is taking applications online, which makes me wonder if/when will Microsoft take some of their applications online?