When Adobe announced moving its Creative Suite applications to the cloud in May last year, users’ opinions were divided.

While the company saw this move as a step towards enabling more people to use its popular applications such as Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, etc. through affordable subscription plans, some end-users saw it as an attempt at luring them into paying more.

Soon after the change was made in June last year, most people simply embraced it as a necessary step towards what seems to be the mass migration to the cloud. After all, cloud hosting does provide a greater accessibility even to some data-heavy applications.

Today, however, we see Adobe making yet another big step that is bound to change people’s overall experience with its packages, especially with respect to platform availability.


Adobe Photoshop

image credit: classthink.com


Google and Adobe Join Hands

Once the first step towards the cloud was made, another one was bound to follow. Namely, a few months ago, Adobe and Google entered a partnership to bring Photoshop to browsers, which is indeed an interesting idea given the growth of Internet use and mobile searches in particular.

Obviously, Adobe continues to make efforts to enable smooth service delivery adjusted to the expectations of their users. Since Photoshop is currently not supported on mobile platforms, it is reasonable to expect Adobe’s focus will remain in this area.

For a start, the latest project titled Photoshop Streaming intends to enable seamless access to Photoshop via Google’s popular browser. Limited beta was released late in September this year and is still available only to a selected group of paid CS members.

The project provides access from Chromebooks or any Windows device with a Chrome browser, integration with learning tools such as Adobe Education Exchange and an in-app learning panel “Learn Now.” Technical support is also included in the package, and its task will probably be to gather feedback before the public launch.

Obviously, the idea is to make one of the most popular services from Adobe’s Creative Suite available to users worldwide without any obvious restrictions in terms of platform.

This is especially important for tablet and Linux users, who previously couldn’t use Photoshop (natively) from these devices. Certainly, we’re yet to see where Adobe is headed with this, but it’s reasonable to assume these two groups of users are to profit from this plan.


Would It Meet The Expectations?

Much like any cloud-based application, Streaming Photoshop is able to load quickly and let you work seamlessly, which is mostly due to its background technology. While the end-user runs the interface, all the difficult computing part takes place on Adobe’s powerful servers.

This way, the device itself doesn’t have to be particularly well-equipped in terms of hardware; all it needs is a stable internet connection. The general recommendation so far is 3-4 MB/s, but Adobe is confident that it could work on much slower connections as well.

Therefore, it seems there’s nothing that could ruin the possible experience for browser users. Google announced that Streaming Photoshop would be always up to date and fully integrated with Drive, Google’s cloud storage service, which should significantly facilitate file management processes.

Without the need to constantly re-upload potentially bandwidth-extensive files, you can just save them to your drive and run them again whenever you need them.

Sounds great and, judging from the experience of people who already had the opportunity to try it, it works this way as well. Ars Technica, whose writers got the chance to try it, noted that it works as seamlessly as the desktop version, which is certainly a very convincing review.


What’s Next?

Project Photoshop Streaming is currently available to members of educational institutions based in North America and the expansion to the wider audiences is expected in the second half of 2015.

By that time, hopefully, Adobe will find the ways to remove the currently imposed limits such as the integration with Google Drive only, and add perhaps some even more interesting features.

Certainly, one of the greatest things that could happen with the public launch of Photoshop Streaming is its improved availability and wider accessibility even on devices that do not have advanced features.

In the next few years, we’re quite likely to see browser-based access to Photoshop gaining ground, which is quite likely to make most of its existing users happy.


Posted by Howard Bell

Howard has been writing about technology for quite some time now, especially if you count his diary entries where he laments the pressing programming issues hiding behind the painfully obvious lack of the long blocks in Tetris (also known as the ‘stupid game is cheating’ bug). He has since refined his approach, trying to take a slightly more impartial and a bit more informative voice, but still finds inspiration in the ways that different devices can annoy him to wit’s end.