As much as I love Google and many of its services, I am always hesitant to cheer when it acquires a popular application or service. Google itself makes great products, generally free of charge, and knows how to pick and choose the very best of the world's up-and-coming startups. The search giant's pockets are deep and it can practically afford any and all promising new applications.

One, for example, is Sparrow, a popular iOS and OS X email client. Back in July, Google purchased Sparrow to bring a refreshing look and feel to the Gmail experience. This was both good and bad for end users. For those who had spent their hard earned money on the iOS and OS X applications could expect development to slow down significantly. After the acquisition, development all but ceased – the only updates since have been to fix bugs and add support for the taller iPhone 5 display.

I purchased Sparrow on the recommendation of several of my colleagues. But without push email, it was practically useless to me and I deleted the application and never looked back. The Google acquisition meant next to nothing to me.

A more recent mobile application acquisition did, however. In September, Google acquired Nik Software, the company that produces one of my favorite iOS applications to date. To be concise, at the time, Snapseed was a fairly robust photo editor for iOS devices. Of the dozens of iOS photo editors I've used, Snapseed is the fastest and most intuitive with the most fluid interface.

When Google acquired Nik Software, though, I was a bit worried.

Sometimes I fear Google doesn't always purchase companies to utilize the respective software or apps. Instead, sometimes it's as if the purchases are made as a defensive move, so the competition doesn't acquire a great service first and up the ante.

In other words, Google might acquire a potentially threatening competitor app without any intention of utilizing said app – to bury it. At least that's how it plays out in my head from time to time, especially when it comes to an iOS-only application that the search giant takes under its wing.

Fortunately, this was not the case with Snapseed. It's not getting buried and Google has quickly brought the wonderful Snapseed application to Android. Available as of today, Snapseed can be downloaded via Play Store totally gratis. And the iOS version of Snapseed dropped from a bit lofty $4.99 to absolutely free.

Turns out, this is one of the more awesome turnarounds on a Google acquisition in recent memory.

If you are one to take a lot of photos, do yourself a favor. Go to App Store or the Play Store and download Snapseed … now. Had I not found Snapseed when it was temporarily offered for free several months ago, I would have gladly paid $5 for the app. And I would have gladly paid $5 (possibly more) had Google not brought it to Android free of charge.

For months now, every picture I have shared using the iPhone has gone through Snapseed first for some fine tuning. You can do the typical adjustments, such as rotate and crop, alter saturation, contrast, white balance, and brightness and apply frames and filters. Additionally, you can add tilt shift to your photos for that miniature scene effect, apply a faux-focus on a specific point and you can even straighten the picture, if you managed to somehow take the picture at a serious angle.

What really sets Snapseed apart, though, is its user-friendliness and the finish. It's quick, full of features and it looks gorgeous. And it could not have arrived on Android at a better time. It has easily found itself among my top applications this year, and will definitely make my top five Android apps of all time.

Rest assured, any picture I share from now on – whether taken with an iPhone or Android device – will have passed through Snapseed first. It has a way of turning what may have initially been a pretty boring picture into a quite a dramatic shot. And even today, after using the app for several months, I'm still discovering new features.

Snapseed is arguably one of the best mobile photo editing apps available. And for free, you're seriously missing out if you don't at least try it.

Have you tried Snapseed out yet, folks? What are your impressions? Or have you relied on some other Android photo editing application? Will Snapseed make the cut for you?

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