Google+ has added Instagram-like controls to its photo section. The service has always had basic editing, and because Google+ shares its photo albums with Picasa, any edits made there would propagate back from there.
But building them in makes things so much easier.
The new controls only work in the desktop version, and are accessed by clicking the edit button when you’re in the fullscreen light-box view and selecting “Creative Kit.” You are then launched into an editor which is powered by PicNik.
From here, you can crop and tweak your photos, but you can also apply Instagram-style filters and perform some pretty powerful edits. The “Sunless Tan” tool, for example, does what it says. You use a brush to apply the tan and it somehow works out where the edges are and turns anyone into a Florida retiree.
Right now there is also a seasonal toolkit: Halloween. This lets you add blood spatter, gravestones, “Dracula Dermis,” and other fun nonsense to your pictures.
The Creative Kit uses Flash to do its magic, so even if you manage to sign in to the non-mobile version of Google+ from an iPad you can’t use it. If any readers have Flash-capable Android tablets, try it out and let us know how it goes. On the other hand, this is good enough to be a Photoshop replacement for many people, and that, combined with speed, may be scary for other sites like the neglected Flickr.
The Creative Kit is available now to Google+ users.