Adobe has announced that the browser-based Photoshop version will be made free to all users in an effort to increase the number of people using the program.
Speaking to The Verge, Adobe’s Vice President of digital imaging Maria Yap confirmed that the company is currently testing a “freemium” model in Canada that would allow anyone to use Photoshop on a browser through an Adobe account. The company says it has plans to lock some features off to paying subscribers in the future, but did not provide details on which features it might throw behind a paywall or which ones would always remain free.
Adobe says that it’s testing the new model, which will allow users to try out the platform. Previously, the paid models required either software purchases or subscriptions.
“We want to make [Photoshop] more accessible and easier for more people to try it out and experience the product,” Yap tells The Verge.
“I want to see Photoshop meet users where they’re at now. You don’t need a high-end machine to come into Photoshop.”
Adobe hasn’t said if or when it plans to expand the test outside Canada nor did it provide details on when the program might fully launch.
Photoshop on Web launched last October as a public beta and while it is not as fully featured as the desktop application, it is compatible with it. Users can start editing on the web and invite anyone to view or comment on the file without a Creative Cloud subscription or the need to download any software. The platform is especially powerful for Adobe to target younger creatives since it can work on Google Chromebooks, which are one of the leading computers that are deployed in classrooms.
Adobe has invested significant resources in cloud- and browser-based creativity tools. Adobe launched Creative Cloud Express last year, in addition to Illustrator for Web and Photoshop.
Much of Adobe’s recent efforts seem to be in response to the success of Picsart, which has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years and whose users create a billion edits a month. Adobe has a leg up on Picsart when it comes to the power of its software, although Picsart tends to focus more on “fun” than trying to go head-to-head on features with Adobe. Picsart’s business model and Adobe’s willingness to enter the freemium market are almost certain reasons why Adobe has decided to explore the “freemium” market. This shows just how serious Adobe takes the photo editor.