Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Why, Google? Why???

I am going to get a little nerdy here, but try to follow me. I once heard that if web companies were superheroes, Google would be Superman: massive, overwhelmingly powerful and seemingly benevolent. But, like Superman, everyone throws a fit when they change his look, or they throw in some new plot twist. Also like Superman, everyone fears the day that Google some day turns on us and rules us like a king…

First it was my beloved Google Cow, a joke feature of Google Body that nonetheless was the BEST THING EVER. Then it was their new policy of demanding that everyone with a Google account also have a Google+ and Gmail account. The hope from a corporate standpoint is that they can muscle out Facebook in the social networking field if they force people to join their little club.

Which leaves teachers like me in a little bit of a predicament. Things no longer work unless you have a Google account, and you can’t have a Google account without the email and the Google+ profile, something that I can’t and won’t force on my students. Which is why I found a workaround.

This hits home with one of my favorite services: Picnik. Picnik is a great little site that lets you edit your photos and add all kinds of nifty effects. It is particularly great because it does not require you to understand all the filter-y layer-y photoshop mumbo-jumbo. It just gets right to the good stuff.

Google bought Picnik, and this April will lock it away in the fortress of solitude that is Google+ to live a new life as an integrated photo editor for the social network, far, far away from my poor students, who yearn for the day when they will again be able to paste mustaches on their friends and paste UFOs over our school. The only silver lining? Until April, all of Picnik’s features, even its premium ones, are free. So get it while you can people.

You lost my business, Google. From now on I will have to use FotoFlexer, Aviary or any number of other alternatives.

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