Feature News

Adobe Photoshop Coming to Google Chrome

photoshop on chrome

Adobe Photoshop is no stranger to designers, photographers, and photo enthusiasts who like to play around with images and text to make cool graphics. However, the brilliant software isn’t that easy to run on computers. Most of the time you need an expensive computer where expensive equals to high configuration under the hood. Even then, sometimes the software lags in performance when you’re working with heavy files.

What if all that could be done in your browser? Sounds incredible, like? Be that as it may, Adobe has been trying to get their software working in Google Chrome for nearly two years now. And today, the company has the first working version of Photoshop that does run on browser. Adobe’s calling it Photoshop Streaming. And it’s currently available only for educational institutes for testing purpose.

Adobe said that the browser-based version of Photoshop will go through six months of vigorous testing. What happens after that is likely to be decided based on what happens during the tests. So how did the company manage to run such a resource-hungry software in a web browser?

How it Works

When it’s explained, it’s actually a brilliant idea. At first, users will be required to download Photoshop Streaming on their browser from Chrome Web Store. But don’t worry, you’re not downloading the actual software. You’re only downloading a client. When you open up Photoshop Streaming, what it does behind the scene is, it connects to a remote server. The server is running the full desktop version of Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.

photoshop streaming

The user interface of the software is captured from that server and streamed to your browser as a video. So you can see what’s happening on the software. When you make adjustments and edits to the images, JavaScript takes over your actions and sends it back to the server commanding the computer behind the scene to actually perform the actions you’ve just done.

As you can see, it heavily relies on internet connection. But that was to be expected, right? Adobe has to figure out how to get this to work smoothly on moderate internet speed. According to Adobe’s director of engineering, Kirk Gould, who spoke with The Verge reporter, the company is 90-percent there.

The Limitations

So, apart from the required high speed internet, what other limitations does Photoshop Streaming have as of now? According to Adobe, the files you want to work with must be hosted on Google Drive. This means Adobe will be able to pull files directly from Google Drive — a.k.a. the cloud — making it work faster (because your 20+ MB raw file may take longer to upload than it will take for Adobe to pull the file directly from Drive). But Adobe said in the future other cloud storage services will be implemented. So you won’t be forced to use Google Drive.

There are a few core Photoshop features that aren’t yet available in Photoshop Streaming. That includes the ability to print and anything that requires a graphics card — such as 3D features. Other than these, every basic to advanced editing including the Camera Raw plugin is there.

The Good

Adobe is targeting a pool of users who are already using low-end hardware. Adobe wants to optimize this for computers that run on low-end hardware. And that’s a good thing. While we still don’t know how many years it will take for Adobe to make the product a perfect one and advance towards a commercial release, but when it does, imagine the power of your browser. You could do basic to advanced editing right in your browser without having to install Photoshop. Think about Chromebooks, too. Suddenly, you will be able to edit photos in Photoshop right from your Chromebook.

High speed internet may be an obstacle for some. But we’re heading towards a world where everything is on the web. And with that, the average internet speed is also increasing at a steady pace. So it’s possible that soon the internet speed won’t be an issue for most users — making Chromebook the ultimate laptop most of them need.

What do you think of Photoshop Streaming? Do you think Adobe will be able to release it as a fully stable version? How would you benefit from Photoshop Streaming on your Chrome browser?


Leave a Reply