Google+ red iconIf you are a regular user of Google+ you may have noticed the Edit option for photos has vanished. Google have been frighteningly tight-lipped about the omission, which has led some to speculate on the future of the editor. Is it a bug? Are Google deploying a new version? Have they dropped it?

The 'Edit' option has been absent for four days yet Google have not updated their status pages, made a blog post, or commented in one of their many Google+ pages. However a quick search in G+ shows many people complaining and curious. I have also made a few comments and asked Google teams to reply; nothing so far.

One lucky G+ user did receive a quick reply from Google+ Help :

We aware of this issue and are currently investigating.

Google have now offered a more formal statement to Techcrunch

We’ve received reports about our desktop photo editing tools, in which the edit button may not be available. Our team is aware of the issue, and we’re working to bring back this capability as soon as possible. Rich photo editing remains available in the Google+ apps for both Android and iOS.

I would disagree on the last sentence. Although there is photo editing in the mobile version, it is certainly not 'rich'. The mobile version in essences offers 10 filters and a handful of gimmicky frames.

The Google+ photo editor is based on Picnik, an online photo editing tool established in 2005. Google acquired Picnik in 2010 and in April 2012 the Picnik site was closed down; most, but not all, features incorporated into Google+.

Fortunately Google's Picasa application continues to function, if you install it on your computer. For those looking for an alternative online editor, try PicMonkey - setup in 2010 by two ex-Picnik staff it is an awesome tool, with all the features of the old Picnik service.

UPDATE: It's back -- after five days, the Google+ Photo editor returns

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