Is Cloud-Based Software Better?

Before we go making all kinds of wild claims in either direction, we first have to say flat out that “better” rests in whoever is doing the evaluation. So in the interest of fair play, we are going to try to inform you on the benefits and drawbacks of each option, and leave the “better” decision up to you.

Cloud-based photo editing software has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years. It wasn’t that long ago that without downloading some heavy-duty photo editing software, you couldn’t do much more than resize or maybe rotate an image. If you wanted to do anything else, you had to download, or more often purchase, a photo editing software suite.

Nowadays users looking for a web-based photo editing software solution have a number of choices available to them for free, in addition to paid online services or downloadable image editing software. The major benefits of web-based services is the combination of the usually low cost, paired with the fact that you’re not using space on your hard drive or really pushing your processor with a resource-heavy program. So, especially if you’re using a slightly older computer that might not have the storage or the RAM of modern machines, they can be a great option.

But, as is the case with so many web- or cloud-based options, there are some drawbacks to using web-based software. First off, most of the options, especially free ones, only provide limited functionality. Certain services offer a “freemium” package where users can access some or most of the tools, but have to pay to upgrade to a full set of features.

Most cloud-based editors, however, can’t offer the robust functions of a full photo editing program like Photoshop via a web interface. There are full-featured cloud-based programs, like the Adobe Creative Cloud service, that offer the full creative suite, but their packages start at roughly $30 per month, so that’s probably not the preferred option for casual photo editors.

Another drawback of cloud-based photo editor software is the inability to save works in progress. Since you are doing all of the work via the web, you can’t save files as working copies where you can revert or make changes, so if you undertake larger projects, you can’t come back to something a few days later. The only solution to this is certain services that allow you to sign up for an account, and this allows you some cloud storage for works in progress in exchange for your name and email address.

Finally, the one other smaller sticking point with online image editing software options is just that: you have to be connected to the Internet to use them. Granted, it is seldom that you’d be doing something like intense image editing where there isn’t web connectivity, but it’s still something that bears mentioning.

If you don’t mind downloading a program and want a fully-functional photo editor that performs the same functions as Photoshop, consider downloading GIMP, a completely free image editing program. Yes, you are downloading a program, but it performs the same as its competitors like Photoshop, all without the hefty pricetag.