By: Gigaom
Photo tool provider Aviary replaces Picnik as Flickr’s picture editor
Flickr announced it will use photo-editing tool Aviary to replace Picnik, the soon to be retired service from Google. The partnership is a big win for Aviary and fills a need for Flickr, which was looking at how to keep providing editing services for its users.

Aviary, the fast-growing photo editing platform, has just hit 1,000 sites and apps using its free service but none are bigger than Flickr, which is expected to announce Wednesday that it will use Aviary to replace Picnik, the soon to be retired tool from Google. The partnership is a big win for Aviary and fills a need for Flickr, which was looking at how to keep providing editing services for its 51 million users.

Starting Thursday, Flickr users will begin to see Aviary as their photo editing option when viewing their photos. The integration will take place over the next couple of weeks for all Flickr users. Aviary’s photo editor offers 14 tools including fun extras like stickers and effects. And it should bring some performance enhancements for Flickr users because it’s built in HTML5, offering very speedy launches, editing and saving compared to Picnik’s Flash-based tool, Aviary’s COO Paul Murphy told me in an interview. The HTML5 service also means it works well on tablets, something that can’t be said about Flickr’s existing tools.

Murphy said the Flickr partnership adds a lot of momentum to Aviary, which is now up to 2 million photos edited a day, up from 1 million just about a month ago. The service first got started in 2007 but got a big boost in September when it released its editing tools for mobile devices. The number of users has jumped from a few hundred thousand to 3.5 million, and those people have edited 40 million photos in the last month. Previously, Aviary’s biggest partners were Box, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Ning, Imgur, PicCollage, FriendCaster, PicPlz and others. None has more than several million users.

Flickr’s big user base should cause Aviary usage to spike. The photo site sees 3.5 million photos uploaded each day. It’s unclear how many of Flickr’s users edit photos but Murphy said users who use Aviary’s photo editor end up editing about 10 photos a month. The partnership does not cover Flickr’s mobile app, but that may come too at some point.

Murphy said adding  photo-editing tools is an appealing option for sites and apps because it provides an easy way to keep users engaged. He said people spend two more minutes per session in an app when it has a photo editor. And 50 percent of photos that get edited are saved.

New York City-based Aviary is working on lining up more partners and will be an option for other sites and services that used Picnik. Google announced in January that it was retiring Picnik on April 19 along with a handful of other services that will be merged, open-sourced or killed off in an effort to help Google focus on fewer initiatives. Box and MailChimp are two former Picnik users that have moved over to Aviary.

While Aviary offers its services for free, it’s working on selling premium effects and revenue-sharing deals. In January, the company started offering premium effects packs, themed sticker packs and branded sticker packs that are designed by a brand.

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